The woman who worked at an Aldi store in Limerick was awarded €22,000 by an Employment Appeals Tribunal
ALDI is appealing a €22,068 award to a shop assistant in a Limerick store, who claimed she was called “stupid” by her manager and was sent home for failing to memorise the codes for fruit and vegetables.
The woman, who won her case at the Employment Appeals Tribunal, claimed that she was undermined, bullied and subjected to general mistreatment by her manager in one of the busiest stores in the country.
She said she made two calls through the alert confidential help line as a result of these grievances – the first of which was anonymous.
She said she was sent home on one occasion by her manager as she couldn’t recall all the code numbers, from 1 to 99, for the fruit and vegetables. She claimed she was told not to come back until she knew all the codes.
One of a number of witnesses on her behalf said that they believed that she was “treated the worst in the store”.
The manager was “constantly telling her she was useless and clicking her fingers at her and whistling” at the woman, who is a non-Irish national, and had worked as a book-keeper in her native country.
One witness in the case said that “whenever an incident occurred in the store an employee would be branded ‘victim of the week’.”
The claimant said that on Christmas Eve she had been refused permission to telephone her husband to tell him she would be working late.
She said her health had been severely affected and she had to obtain medical advice and treatment. She later went on sick leave.
When she sought to return to work she was offered a position in a store in Co Tipperary, which she viewed as “punishment” and claimed this amounted to constructive dismissal.
A representative for Aldi, which has 128 stores, said she had failed to attend a series of meetings about returning to work. He said there were four grievances recorded against her manager but none were upheld – except that she did click her fingers and whistled at the claimant.
Aldi had argued that she be redeployed on a temporary basis for her own health and safety pending the outcome of an investigation into her grievances.
Outlining that employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment for its employees, the tribunal found that in this case, they “fell far short of complying with this duty.
It states that Aldi Stores (Ireland) Limited was well aware of the details of the allegations, and did not deal with them adequately, for a considerable period of time of over six months.
The tribunal was satisfied that the claimant did not resign as a first option, but that she made reasonable efforts to have the matter addressed, which proved futile.
She was awarded €22,068.00 in compensation under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2007.
The case, which was heard over four days, is now before the Dublin Circuit Court civil list for hearing.