A Barcelona supermarket, which sacked five female cashiers who were secretly filmed by hidden cameras stealing products from the store, has been ordered to pay them compensation by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg.

Following the disappearance of stock in 2009 the owners told their staff that cameras were to be installed. They were informed of the locations of many of the cameras but not those of a small number of cameras that were hidden.

All five women were shown films of them stealing. They each confessed they were involved with the thefts and were fired on disciplinary grounds.

The Spanish courts ruled that the dismissals were fair, including on appeal to the High Court but the then took their case to the ECHR.

The European court ruled that while the women received a fair trial and were dismissed on fair grounds, an employer cannot secretly film their employees in the workplace.

The Spanish women claimed compensation for lost wages, €6,500 each for “considerable moral damage” and another €2,906.80 to cover legal costs. The ECHR refused wage compensation and reduced the non-pecuniary damage to €4,000. The first applicant López Ribalda received €500 for legal costs and expenses and rest received €568.86.



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