An Aldi store manager has won a £26,000 payout after he was ‘forced’ to resign for hiding price cards because he was You are under immense pressure to succeed.

Barry Williams was well thought-of by his bosses and ‘loved his job’, which involved helping to turn round underperforming shops and getting new stores up and running, including a store in Norris Green, Liverpool, in 2015.

He was not ‘well-respected by his employers’ after his Aldi sales performance dropped in 2018, according to an employment tribunal.

After 10 years working at the discount grocery chain, Mr Williams decided to resign without notice. He was also caught up in an internal investigation.

Mr Williams was accused of misconduct for hiding price cards and staff working hours, but the tribunal heard the allegations were ‘exaggerated’ and bosses would ‘turn a blind eye’ to such practices if a store was performing well.

The tribunal concluded that ‘unbearable pressure’ was put on some area managers for stores to perform well and awarded Mr Williams more than £26,000 for unfair dismissal.

Aldi store manager Barry Williams has been awarded £26,000 for unfair dismissal. His job involved opening new stores, including an Aldi store in Liverpool (pictured) in 2015

Aldi store manager Barry Williams has been awarded £26,000 for unfair dismissal. His job involved opening new stores, including an Aldi store in Liverpool (pictured) in 2015

Williams described the immense pressure he felt in his job and said Aldi had used these incidents to get him fired.

Dawn Shotter, employment judge stated that Dawn Shotter had written a judgment. [Aldi’s]Culture to place a lot pressure on managers.

“Unbearable pressure” was often placed on store managers by store area managers.

“All of us were placed under tremendous pressure to meet the key performance indicators. This included store productivity and inventory which translated into sales.

A disciplinary investigation found that Mr Williams had hidden price tags above product line shelves to hide the fact that he hadn’t ordered sufficient stock.

Aldi bosses would ignore this type of behavior if the store performed well, according to the tribunal.

Aldi was also charged with changing the times of staff to comply with Working Time Regulations. However, Aldi did not conduct an objective investigation.

Peter Seddon, the manager of his local area confronted Williams with the allegations in October 2018. Williams initially denied the charges but later confessed that he felt unsafe in his work and had hidden prices cards to boost his store’s performance.

Mr Williams resigned without notice on February 26, 2019, after 10 years at Aldi (pictured: Store in Norris Green, Liverpool), while he was caught up in a disciplinary investigation

After 10 years of service at Aldi, Mr Williams decided to resign without notice. (pictured: Shop in Norris Green in Liverpool), while Williams was under a disciplinary investigation.

He promised to Mr Seddon that it would never happen again. The two men agreed it was the end of the matter, according to the tribunal. 

And Mr Seddon The agreement was rescinded and the included Incident as part of a misconduct allegation. 

According to the tribunal, Mathew Lipscombe was convinced that Seddon and Mathew Lipscombe wanted to ‘exit the claimant’ as Mathew Lipscombe considered him one of the worst performers.

Judge Shotter stated that the exit of the claimant from the company was unavoidable, regardless of whether the misconduct or performance management occurred.

The price cards incident was included with the working times allegation because neither of them alone would have been likely to warrant dismissal, the tribunal found.

Judge Shotter explained: ‘The tribunal found on the balance of probabilities that if a store manager was performing well the removal of price cards was ignored, but if there were performance issues and the store was struggling, removing store cards would be used together with other allegations of underperformance/misconduct to either dismiss a store manager or the mechanism by which a confidential compromise agreement would be reached.’

The judge also concluded that if store managers were not performing well, then directors would then raise issues including ‘historic non-performance, absence and sickness levels, stock availability and staff complaints’.

Mr Williams was accused of misconduct, but the allegations were 'exaggerated'. The tribunal found 'unbearable pressure' was put on some area managers for stores to perform well

Although Mr Williams was charged with misconduct, the accusations were not true. A tribunal determined that there was ‘unbearable pressure’ on area managers to ensure stores performed well.

She also said that if a manager at a store turned his blind eye to the fact that the store was being performed for him, it would be a sign of weakness.

Judge Shotter determined that Mr Williams’ behavior and poor performance contributed to the company’s exit, but he only approved a 20% reduction in his compensation.

She explained that, “The claimant, who had been working for over ten years and maintained an impeccable employment record up until his resignation. If the claimant was a good manager and his store performed well.

“The Tribunal discussed awarding a greater percentage reduction. This would not have been possible due to the specific circumstances and the pressure placed on the claimant.

“The Respondent committed a fundamental breach of an implied term of trust, confidence. A 100 percent reduction requested by the Respondent is inappropriate and not just and equitable considering all the circumstances.

Mr Williams was awarded a total of £26,180 for unfair dismissal.

Aldi spokesperson said that Aldi was an inclusive employer, and would not tolerate any discrimination. 

“We are disappointed by this tribunal’s decision and will now carefully consider it before taking any further action.”