Albert Heijn stops asking staff for photos in their underwear in clothing-size app
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Albert Heijn stops asking staff for photos in their underwear in clothing-size app

The pilot project was supposed to be assessed after two weeks, but Albert Heijn decided to scrap it immediately. Credit: Wikipedia

The Dutch supermarket chain stopped its pilot project in which staff had to upload photos in their underwear to a new app to determine sizes for new work uniforms.

Via a pilot project app, a branch of the store in the city of Nijmegen had asked its employees to upload photos of themselves in their underwear or tight sports clothing to an app, so their sizes for the new work uniforms could be determined. The photos were “essential and mandatory” according to an email that was sent to all staff members, reported NRC on Monday.

However, that was “a misunderstanding” said a spokesman of the company now, reports NOS. Due to a miscommunication, the branch manager put too much pressure on the employees, as participation in the trial was voluntary.

The spokesperson also stressed that the clothing sizes would be determined by algorithms, and that the pictures would not be viewed by people.

“Albert Heijn has no basis at all to impose this on its employees,” said a spokesperson of the Dutch Authority on Personal Data, reports NRC. “It provides a bizarre database of Albert Heijn employees, in their underwear,” they said, adding that even the approval of the staff members would not be sufficient as a legal basis. “As an employee in an employment relationship, you can never give consent freely, because the relationship is hierarchical,” they added.

The pilot project was supposed to be assessed after two weeks, but Albert Heijn decided to scrap it immediately.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times