Disneyland Spied on Job Applicants

Former gendarmes were allegedly paid to get secret information from police and justice department files

disneyland paris

Euro Disney, the company that runs Disneyland Paris, and two former gendarmes have been taken to court in France for using alleged spying tactics on candidates who applied for jobs at the theme park.

The case at Meaux, east of Paris, which opened on Wednesday, relates to a secret agreement under which the Mickey Mouse theme park paid the former gendarmes around €36,000 (£30,500) a year to access illegally police file information on job applicants, including their court history, legal cases and former convictions.

The ex-gendarmes asked their contacts still in the force to consult police and justice system files. They then passed the information to the Euro Disney human resources department, so the company could vet future staff at what is the most popular tourist destination in Europe.

The illegal actions, in which files were checked for previous judicial records, sexual offences, illegal work or financial offences, are alleged to have happened between 1999 and 2004. Information on between 2,500 and 3,000 people was reportedly accessed in this way.

In 2004, the new management of Euro Disney alerted the justice system itself, filing a legal case to denounce these procedures and put a stop to them. The company said the practice had been about ensuring the security of around 10 million people who visited the site each year. But it added that despite any “good intentions” it was a “mistake” to operate in this way.

A lawyer for trade union plaintiffs in the case told France 3 TV it amounted to “the use of a spying system on a large scale”.

The park, which sprawls over about 2,000 hectares of old beetroot fields east of Paris, celebrated its 20th birthday last year with debts of €1.9bn. It is the biggest employer in the area, with around 12,500 staff.

• This article was amended on 25 April 2013 because the original said Disneyland Paris celebrated its 20th birthday with debts of €1.9m. This has been corrected to say €1.9bn.



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