John Lewis staff “threatening legal action” after being filmed by hidden cameras

John Lewis has been accused of “spying” after it was revealed that mystery shoppers recorded conversations with its employees using secret cameras.

“Discreet body cameras” were used by mystery shoppers, which are hired by the retailer to evaluate customer service by posing as a member of the public, in five John Lewis and Waitrose stores according to The Mirror.

Employees complained in John Lewis’ internal Gazette magazine, calling it a “gross invasion of privacy” and adding that “many partners are threatening legal action”.

READ MORE: Automated facial recognition backed by UK Home Secretary

Despite the move having “really upset a lot of people”, John Lewis said store staff are made aware that the filming is taking place in store and only select managers and the staff being filmed would see the footage.

This comes amid growing privacy concerns within the retail sector, which is increasingly employing facial recognition technology to identify shoppers and analyse their habits largely without their knowledge.

Amazon has also come under fire from campaigners against selling its Rekognition system to government agencies.

Rekognition is an online tool that works with both video and still images and allows users to match faces to pre-scanned subjects in a database containing up to 20 million people.

Amazon recommends law enforcement agents should only use the facility if there is a 99 per cent or higher confidence rating of a match and says they should be transparent about its usage.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Poor decision by John Lewis you are not treating your staff well and service is suffering as a result. Spying on only going to worsen relationship with your so called partners. Some partners seem more equal than others?

  • Bob Morrissey
    October 7, 2019 10:07 pm

    Why worry if you’re doing you’re properly, most companies use mystery shoppers. It’s a great way to show how you look after your customers and encourage business improvement!

  • Samantha Ackland
    October 15, 2019 9:18 am

    Madness! If your doing your job correctly then whats the problem with that being recorded. Its not a “private” conversation, its a conversation between you and a customer in full vie of others, Dont you want to be seen as a good employee, offering great customer service? Its a great tool for keeping standards up and making sure customers are treated correctly.

  • Video Mystery Shoppers are nothing new and are widely used in other retail businesses. Why is it only John Lewis ‘Partners’ who threaten legal action?


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