Almost six years after the suicide of one of its employees in a warehouse near Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône), Lidl was indicted for manslaughter and moral harassment, has learned 20 minutes from corroborating sources.
The day after the publication in 2017 of an issue of Cash Investigation Elise Lucet, who denounced the management of Lidl, a judicial information had been opened by the prosecutor’s office of Aix-en-Provence, in order to shed light on the death of Yannick Sansonetti. The latter was indeed found hanged on May 29, 2015 at his place of work, a Lidl warehouse located in Rousset in the Bouches-du-Rhône.
“The earthquake of his life”
During the procedure, another case was subsequently attached to the file: that of Patrice Tonarelli, warehouse manager until 2018 and direct superior of Yannick Sansonetti, victim of burnout a month before the suicide of this latest. According to our information, Lidl was recently indicted in criminal proceedings for moral harassment in these two cases.
“This decision seems natural and logical to me, if not inevitable in view of the elements that we find in this case, analyzes Me Lucien Simon, lawyer of Patrice Tonarelli. In my life as a lawyer, I had rarely seen someone so marked by a professional relationship as Patrice Tonarelli. This story constitutes for my client the earthquake of his life, with the consequent gravity. “
“Very strong managerial pressure”
“This indictment for manslaughter on the person of Yannick Sansonetti seems normal to me, abounds Me François Burle, lawyer for the brother and mother of Yannick Sansonetti. From the moment when, knowingly, you violate a legal obligation of safety or prudence, and that you cause a death, it is by the violation which you committed that the death occurred. So, you are prosecuted for homicide. “
As had revealed 20 minutes, in 2020, Lidl has already been convicted on appeal following the suicide of Yannick Sansonetti. In its judgment, the court considered that “the employer’s breach of the safety obligation (…) constitutes inexcusable fault. The court reported “very strong managerial pressure since the arrival of a new regional director in January 2014”. According to this judgment, the employees of the Rousset warehouse found themselves subjected to “an unreasonable daily workload, adding them unpredictable assignments, without giving them suitable work resources. After this suicide, three people had been hired by Lidl to carry out all the tasks entrusted until then to Yannick Sansonetti alone.
Other harassment cases
“This indictment of Lidl proves that we have been right, despite what we have been made to believe, believes Nicolas Sansonetti, brother of Yannick Sansonetti. This confirms the civil decision, and unfortunately, we will have to go to the end. It’s no fun. It would have been nice, at some point, for Lidl to admit his wrongs. Perhaps we could have stopped there. I know for a fact that if there is a court decision tomorrow, that’s not what will bring it back to us. But that will just allow us to grieve and stop the costs. “
And to add: “It is not a question of revenge. It’s just that we want to have recognition. We don’t want his death to have been used for nothing and that it might be useful for other people. “Lidl has a lot of harassment cases,” says Burle. I have two other cases in cabinet against Lidl for harassment, and there is one that attempted suicide. I am convinced that there are management rules at Lidl, a system in place which is detrimental for employees. “
Last February, searches were carried out at Lidl’s regional management in Guingamp, Brittany, after the filing of several employee complaints for acts of harassment and union discrimination. Contacted, the management of Lidl indicates that it “remains at the disposal of justice and does not wish to comment on a case under investigation”.