30 Years a Virgin | The Ugly Truth | Part 2

Table of Contents

Mental Health Matters | Part 1 

Page 1 – Retaliation, Making it Personal  
Page 2 – Performance Management System 
Page 2 – My Performance Management Record 
Page 2 – Open to Suggestions and Ideas 
Page 2 – Completing Onboard Performance Management 
Page 3 – The Early Days at Virgin Atlantic 
Page 4 – More of the Good Old Days
Page 4 – Cabin Crew Life Downroute
Page 4 – Pre-Flight Safety Briefings
Mental Health Matters | Part 3

Retaliation, Making it Personal

The response to the first chapter of my blog has been truly overwhelming. In just a few hours it received a huge number of views and messages of support from friends and colleagues some of whom I’ve not seen for years, poured in. I have read every comment and am blown away by the love and kindness.

The managers dealing with the grievance raised against me by ex police officer now cabin crew member Bart showed little interest in establishing whether he was telling the truth. The entire focus of their investigation was proving my guilt.

From documentation I received following the initial investigation I was able to read all correspondence associated with the case. This included detailed minutes of a meeting that took place between him and grievance investigation manager Lana.

At no time was he advised verbally or in writing that should it be discovered he has made false or baseless claims, he could face disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

I find that surprising considering the Employee Relations Consultant present during the meeting is according to his LinkedIn profile, a qualified solicitor in employment law.

The following screenshot comes from minutes taken during Bart’s meeting with the crew manager who carried out the initial investigation. The purpose of the Employee Relations Consultant being present is to ensure company procedure is followed and to take minutes.

Regarding Bart not being happy with the way his ‘performance management’ was delivered to his manager, I sent her a copy of what I had written which is standard practice.

It’s clearly stated in all cabin crew training manuals that an employee’s manager must be copied in on any performance management that has been written. Bear in mind he was still in probation having only been with Virgin Atlantic for eleven months.

copy of written correspondence
from minutes taken during the grievance investigation meeting with Bart

With all allegations being upheld by the manager who subsequently carried out the disciplinary, I filed an appeal. It was dealt with by the head of cabin crew (HoC).

This was an opportunity for her not only to look again at the evidence, but to also investigate what I had been stating from the start, that Bart and five members of cabin crew one of whom was his fiancee were lying.

I was completely unaware at this time that she was driving the grievance and was determined for it to be upheld.

copy of an email
Reply to an email from my manager who asked me about the appeal meeting

One of the first things HoC (head of cabin crew) said to me in the appeal meeting was because the case had been going on for so long, she would try to deal with it as quickly as possible. I asked whether she had just read my appeal or the entire case. It was made up of more than 500 pages. She confirmed she had read the entire case.

It took her almost eight weeks to reach an outcome. During that time she didn’t speak to any of the cabin crew involved. Bear in mind statements written by those who worked alongside Bart and myself in Upper Class told a very different story to those written by the crew he had colluded with.

As part of my evidence I made reference multiple times to a WhatsApp conversation that I’d had with a friend/colleague following the flight. It had been included as evidence and I’d sent a screenshot to cabin crew manager Hayley via her work WhatsApp account.

After crew manager Lana found there was a case to answer, the matter was passed to Hayley. She dealt with the disciplinary investigation.

Hayley did not add a copy of the WhatsApp conversation to the case notes. I’d also sent her a photograph of the corridor of the hotel in Atlanta. That hadn’t been added to the file either. It was to prove another allegation made by Bart was also a lie.

Despite making reference multiple times to both pieces of evidence, HoC did not ask to see them.

The following is a screenshot from an email I sent to her regarding this matter;

copy of written correspondence in an email
Real names have been replaced with pseudonyms

Whilst off work for almost two years in 2016 with issues relating to my mental health, I never believed I’d return to work. Although excited to finally be going back, I was terrified and wasn’t even certain it was the right decision.

Prior to doing my ‘return to work’ course I had to be cleared by Occupational Health. As well as wanting to talk about mental health matters, they also wanted me to have a hearing test. That was because I had developed tinnitus.

I was told by an E.N.T doctor it can be caused by extreme levels of stress. For the ten years before it started I’d been dealing with an incredible amount of stress at home.

Despite having worked for Virgin Atlantic for almost 30 years, when I arrived at the training base for the first day of my ‘return to work’ course I was terrified. It had been a long time since I’d socialised with anyone and was no longer the bubbly, confident and outgoing person I once was.

I wore a dark business-like suit and whilst waiting for the day to begin sat in the corner watching apprehensively at everything going on around me. The entire environment looked alien to me and I wasn’t convinced I would get through the course.

Driving out the car park three weeks later was an amazing feeling. I couldn’t wait to get back on an aircraft.

Nine months on to be accused of bullying, harassment, overbearing supervision and inappropriate touching by a bunch of ignorant misfits set me back enormously.

Their poisonous lies took me on a journey so dark I don’t believe I’ll ever fully recover.

Throughout the entire investigation I struggled to understand why there was such determination for this grievance to be upheld. Proving Bart and his accomplices were lying took over my life and became an obsession.

In the end I was able to prove all twenty two complaints against me were lies. I was also able to prove Bart had colluded with other crew members. It made no difference at all.

Once in uniform no matter what I was dealing with at home or how I felt, I was representing the airline. I always tried to do that to the very best of my ability.

In my role as a flight manager I was responsible for ensuring safety procedures were followed and to lead and develop a team of cabin crew. From performance appraisals I received from those working alongside me, I clearly did a pretty good job.

I felt personally responsible for ensuring each and every customer on every one of my flights had the best experience possible. I loved my job and always gave 100%.

Male Virgin Atlantic Flight Manager
Taken at some point in 2019 whilst fighting a grievance I never had any chance of winning

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