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Supermarket Scraps Very Bad Idea to Gauge Uniform Sizes

Albert Heijn apologizes after asking employees to submit photos of themselves in underwear
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2019 2:58 PM CST

(Newser) – When it comes to the question "How can we figure out sizes for our employees' new work uniforms?" one business came up with possibly the worst answer: Ask workers to submit scantily-clad pictures of themselves. Albert Heijn, the leading supermarket chain in the Netherlands, asked employees at one branch for photographs of themselves wearing either just their underwear or tight sportswear so the retailer could use an app to determine uniform sizes for them, the BBC reports. Not surprisingly, quite a bit of backlash ensued, and the chain reversed the decision. Originally, it apparently planned to require employees at the branch located in the eastern city of Nijmegen to submit the aforementioned photos to an app in a pilot program it would later roll out to all 1,000 stores.

"Wear underwear or tight-fitting sportswear so the contours of your body can be measured as accurately as possible. And ask someone to help you take the photos," read a poster about the store's plan, which was spotted in a staff area of the pilot store. Albert Heijn had "no grounds whatsoever to require its staff to do this," the Dutch Data Protection Authority said in response to the move, which was originally said to be "essential and compulsory" in an email to employees at the Nijmegen store, per Dutch News. But Albert Heijn now says participation was voluntary, and insists the move was just meant as a simpler and quicker way to determine and collect sizing info. It also says management would not have been able to see the photos. Any that were submitted before the pilot was canceled will be deleted. The new uniforms arrive next year. (Read more supermarket stories.)

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