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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Lidl Worker Wins Unfair Dismissal Battle


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While Lidl Ireland argued that the dismissal of warehouse operative Mihalis Buinenko was fair and justified, a recent ruling by the Workplace Relations Commission found in favor of the employee.

The decision raises concerns about the company’s disciplinary process, including criticisms of a lack of opportunity to challenge specific times and dates and insufficient discussions about attendance rates.

This case underscores the importance of fair investigations and thorough disciplinary procedures in the workplace.

Background and Ruling

One of the key aspects of the case involving the unfair dismissal of a Lidl worker is the background and ruling that led to the employee being awarded €16,000 in compensation.

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) ruled that the dismissal was unfair and ordered Lidl Ireland to pay compensation to the warehouse operative, Mihalis Buinenko.

The investigation conducted in May 2021 revealed a pattern of unreliable attendances, with 69 occasions of absence from work, early departures on 10 occasions, and unauthorized breaks on 13 occasions.

Lidl Ireland claimed that the dismissal was fair and reasonable, citing breaches of company procedures and the employee’s inability to provide valid reasons for absenteeism.

However, the WRC found that the disciplinary process lacked sufficient detail and failed to refer the employee for an occupational health assessment.

Investigation and Allegations

During the investigation conducted in May 2021, allegations arose regarding the Lidl worker’s pattern of unreliable attendances and instances of gross misconduct.

It was found that the worker had been absent from work on 69 occasions, had left early on 10 occasions, and had taken unauthorized breaks on 13 occasions. These acts were considered to be a breach of company procedures and had caused excessive disruption to Lidl’s operations.

The company claimed that the worker had failed to provide valid reasons for their absenteeism, leading to a breakdown of trust in the working relationship. The average absenteeism level of six days per year was also deemed to be unacceptable.

These allegations formed the basis for the company’s decision to dismiss the worker.

Company’s Perspective

From the company’s perspective, the Lidl worker’s dismissal was justified due to their repeated breaches of company procedures and the resulting disruption to operations.

The company’s viewpoint can be summarized as follows:

  1. Breach of company procedures: The worker had consistently failed to adhere to Lidl’s attendance policies, with 69 instances of absence from work, early departures on 10 occasions, and unauthorized breaks on 13 occasions. This demonstrated a pattern of unreliable attendance and a disregard for company rules.
  2. Inability to provide valid reasons for absenteeism: Despite the worker’s claims of medical reasons for their absences, they failed to provide sufficient evidence or seek a referral for an occupational health assessment. This raised doubts about the legitimacy of their reasons for being absent from work.
  3. Disruption to operations: The worker’s repeated absences and unauthorized breaks resulted in excessive disruption to Lidl’s operations. This breakdown in attendance and reliability had a negative impact on the smooth functioning of the company.

Cross-Examination and Claimant’s Perspective

Continuing the examination, the claimant presented their perspective on the matter, highlighting their compliance with the sick leave policy and the lack of referrals for an occupational health assessment. They argued that their dismissal was unfair and that the disciplinary process was also unfair. The claimant emphasized that they had provided medical certification for their absences and had followed the company’s sick leave policy. They also pointed out that there were no sanctions or provisions in the sick pay scheme for their absences. Additionally, the claimant questioned why they were not referred for an occupational health assessment despite their alleged pattern of unreliable attendances.

To provide a clearer picture, here is a table summarizing the claimant’s perspective:

Claimant’s Perspective
Compliance with sick leave policy
No referral for occupational health assessment
Unfair dismissal and unfair disciplinary process
Medical certification for absences
Lack of sanctions or provisions in sick pay scheme

The claimant’s arguments shed light on their side of the story, highlighting potential gaps in the company’s handling of the situation.

Ruling and Criticisms

The ruling on the unfair dismissal case has sparked criticisms regarding the disciplinary process and the lack of detailed discussions about attendance rates. While the Workplace Relations Commission found in favor of the employee, there are concerns about the fairness and transparency of the proceedings.

Here are three main criticisms that have been raised:

  1. Lack of opportunity to challenge specific times and dates: The employee claims that they were not given the chance to provide explanations or evidence for their absences on specific occasions. This raises questions about the thoroughness of the investigation and whether the employee was given a fair chance to defend themselves.
  2. Insufficiently detailed discussions about attendance rates: Critics argue that the discussions surrounding the employee’s attendance rates were not comprehensive enough. It is important for employers to have detailed discussions about attendance patterns and explore possible underlying reasons for absences before making a decision on dismissal.
  3. Inclusion of certified sick leave as an unreasonable basis: The ruling has been criticized for considering certified sick leave as a basis for dismissal. Critics argue that this sets a concerning precedent and fails to acknowledge legitimate health issues that may have contributed to the employee’s absences.

These criticisms highlight the need for a fair and thorough disciplinary process that takes into account all relevant factors and allows employees to provide their side of the story.


In conclusion, the recent ruling in favor of the Lidl worker highlights the importance of fair and thorough workplace investigations and disciplinary procedures.

The case raises concerns about the disciplinary process, emphasizing the need for opportunities to challenge specific times and dates, as well as discussions about attendance rates.

By ensuring a fair and just environment, employers can foster trust and maintain a harmonious working relationship with their employees.

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Eric is a talented writer who has worked as a journalist for 8 years now. With a wealth of experience in journalism, he brings a unique perspective to his work. Eric is known for his ability to write about complex topics in a way that is easy for readers to understand. His articles are insightful and thought-provoking, and he always strives to provide balanced coverage of the news. Eric is dedicated to his craft and spends countless hours researching and fact-checking his stories. When he's not writing, Eric enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with his family.

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