Lidl sacks manager for breaching unpaid overtime rules by working too hard

The former manager is suing the discount supermarket chain for unfair dismissal.

A former Lidl manager is suing the discount supermarket chain after it sacked him for working too hard, thereby breaching its rules banning unpaid overtime.

According to International Business Times, an investigation by the discount retailer found that the manager, known only as Jean P, had arrived at his local store in Barcelona between 49 and 90 minutes before his shift began on five separate occasions without recording his arrival – a situation that his German employer described as “very serious labour breaches”.

According to his dismissal letter, Jean P “made orders, changed prices or replenished entire pallets of articles” without registering his presence on site. But Lidl’s policies require that employees must sign in at the start of a shift and have to be compensated for any time worked.

Lidl also claimed that being in-store without another staff member present was prohibited and was another factor contributing to his dismissal. Jean P had worked for the supermarket chain since 2005 but was sacked in June of this year.

During the tribunal hearing, the manager’s lawyer Juan Guerra attested that the dismissal was unfair and the multinational’s approach was “hypocritical”. Jean P had arrived early to ensure the store was ready for opening and to hit sales targets he had been set, he contended.

The court also heard that the store had been subject to a reorganisation in the lead up to the manager’s dismissal, which had left it disorganised and dirty and forced him to extend his shifts in response. Nonetheless, Jean P’s lawyer said his client wished to be reinstated.

Spanish labour law states that staff can only work up to nine hours per day unless there is an explicit contractual agreement to the contrary between the parties concerned.