Deutsche Telekom, Europe's biggest phone company, confirmed on Saturday allegations in Spiegel magazine that it hired an outside firm to track hundreds of thousands of phone calls by senior executives and journalists in 2005-6.
It denied that the
Spiegel said that "Operation Clipper" and "Operation Rheingold" were set up in order to identify the source of leaks of sensitive financial information to financial journalists.
Chief executive Rene Obermann, who was not in charge when the spying took place, said that state prosecutors and a law firm in
Less than 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the demise of the Stasi secret police in communist
Other firms have also been accused of spying on their own workers.
The biggest such scandal involved Lidl, one of German's biggest budget supermarket chains, which reportedly violated labour laws by installing hidden cameras in its stores to systematically keep tabs on staff.
Lidl even recorded employees when they used the toilet, their conversations while on break, and kept track on who their friends outside work were, reports said in March.