The Netherlands, an outsider's view.

The Netherlands, an outsider's view.


Albert Heijn cancels app requiring photos of employees in underwear

Albert Heijn has abandoned a pilot app which required employees to upload photos of themselves in underwear or tight fitting clothing to determine their uniform size. NRC reports an AH Nijmegen branch – the first store to trial the app – hung a poster in the canteen with instructions to “Wear underwear or close-fitting sportswear to be able to measure the contours of your body as well as possible. And ask someone to help you take the photos.”

A spokesperson for the grocery giant told NRC, “We don’t want anyone to wear too large or too small clothing.” AH planned to use the photos to determine employee sizing for new corporate uniforms. Although AH told NRC that using the app was voluntary, the news source reports an email sent to Nijmegen employees stated that using the app was “essential and mandatory.”

The Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP) commented that the app “provides a bizarre database of Albert Heijn employees in underwear.” AP added, “As an employee in an employment relationship you can never give free permission because the relationship is hierarchical.” This is especially true for underage workers, such as 17-year-old Nijmegen AH employee Niels Waas who told NRC, “At first I thought it was cool, because we are the first to wear new clothing. But when my mother took a picture of me in underwear, it felt a bit strange.”

Albert Heijn canceled the uniform app trial after NRC reported the pilot program on Monday.

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