|Table of Contents |
Mental Health Matters Part 2
Page 1 – The Importance of Evidence
Page 2 – Hideous Bunch of Misfits
Page 3 – Writing Reviews Post Flight
Page 4 – Another Incompetent Manager
Mental Health Matters Part 4
The Importance of Evidence
The publication of my blog 30 Years a Virgin the Ugly Truth was first announced on a Facebook group widely used by the airline’s cabin crew past and present.
It attracted a huge amount of interest and the moderators didn’t feel it was appropropriate for the nature of the page which I completely understood.
Shortly before being removed, crew member Peter who was on my Christmas flight to Atlanta in 2018 posted a comment. It wasn’t there for long but I don’t know whether he deleted it or whether it was removed by the moderators. I responded but the entire thread disappeared soon afterwards.
At the time of our flight Peter had been cabin crew for just six months. He was upset at what I’d written and said “a man is doing a blog about being bullied and attacked whilst attacking and bullying people who were only asked to do a witness statement. The situation was nothing to do with me yet he felt the need to slander my name. Things that have been written about me are hurtful and upsetting and I was only being honest and truthful.”
In this chapter I’m going to share sections from his witness statement as well as sections from those written by other members of the crew. I want to show that he was being anything but “honest and truthful”.
Links throughout the blog enable you to refer back to certain pieces of information. They should always open in a new tab. You may need to scroll up or down slightly to see the relevant text, photo or screenshot.
The member of crew Peter is referring to is his best friend Mia. In her witness statement she accused me of touching her leg. Mia is also good friends with crew member T who worked up as Economy Cabin Supervisor and Bart’s ex fiancee Anna. All four of them worked together in Economy out of the same galley.
Considering Mia “mentioned” to Peter I had been “quite physical on a few occasions”, you would have thought she would have also said something to T who was her friend and supervisor. They also partied together whilst on the layover in Atlanta.
The following screenshot comes from Mia’s witness statement;
This is from T’s witness statement;
Regarding placing my hand on T’s shoulder, take a look back at what I said in relation to this during the first investigative meeting regarding Bart’s complaint. That meeting took place before the investigating manager had requested witness statements from the rest of the crew. Here’s the relevant paragraph.
Regarding Mia saying she didn’t find me particularly approachable, she was friendly enough when I worked with her on the outbound sector to do a drinks service. She was also very chatty when she sat across from me at breakfast on Christmas morning in the hotel.
On our return flight to London, once the dinner service in Economy was finished I asked T to send someone to the front to help us in Upper Class. The service was very busy and wasn’t going well.
T, Mia and Anna arrived a short while later. With there already being seven of us working out of the small front galley which included Ven who was looking after the Premium cabin, I didn’t need three additional crew.
I asked Anna to go back to Economy, Mia to help Bart on the right aisle because he was struggling to keep up with the service and T to remove any service items that customers had finished with.
Despite so many of us working together in a small area, according to witness statements nobody saw me or was aware of me touching Mia’s leg. She says in her statement she thought I may have dropped something or was having a laugh and then says “I don’t wish for this to be taken further”.
I believe Mia was coerced into making this statement probably by Anna who is a devious and malicious individual. I believe she was persuaded to make the statement to support Ven’s allegation that I tickled his leg which made him feel “very uncomfortable”. Were this not to be the case, why would Mia make a point of saying, “I don’t wish for this to be taken further”.
Considering Mia didn’t find me approachable, during a very busy meal service in Upper Class she came to speak with me to draw my attention to the portion size of the Christmas dinner. She could have spoken to Katrina about that who was working up as the Cabin Supervisor.
I took a photo of the meals Mia was holding to send with my catering report to the catering department. Here it is.
Mia was in Upper Class helping Bart out on his aisle for about forty five minutes. So her and Bart worked alongside each other during that time. I was also busy helping in the cabin. Here’s another screenshot from Mia’s witness statement.
She’s right I was stressed because the service wasn’t flowing and the galley was absolute chaos. I had Bart on one aisle who was struggling to keep up and a crew member in the galley plating food like it was school dinners. This was unlike any flight I had ever done before.
Although Katrina who was working up a rank as Cabin Supervisor was working incredibly hard, she wasn’t directing or leading the service. She was just another pair of hands.
Whilst all this was going on Mia claims I touched her leg and thought I had “dropped something or was having a laugh.”
Remember T was also in the cabin at this time yet was unaware of any inappropriate touching.
The following photo is the Upper Class cabin on the aircraft we were flying on. You can also see the width of the right aisle that five of us were working in during the service. Those people were Bart, Mia, myself, T and Claire.
Bart and Mia were serving customers in the seats by the window, Claire was serving the centre seats. T and I were helping in both aisles. By this time Katrina had moved into the galley to help plate up food.
Towards the end of the service once Ven had finished in Premium he also helped in the cabin.
At the back of the cabin is the bar area which is also a tight space. The galley which I don’t have a photo of is also very narrow. The galley wall can just about be seen in this photo. I’ve included it to show how narrow the walkway is behind the bar stools.
This is where I was on my hands and knees sweeping the carpet prior to landing when I touched Ven’s ankle as a joke to give him a fright. He was sat on the middle bar stool talking to Katrina who was sat to his left. Lottie was standing at the end of the bar in front of the toilet.
In Bart’s witness statement he says “Laurence constantly touched me and other crew members on or below the hips. Excessive and unwanted touching especially by a manager who has not created good rapport was not welcomed and was commented on by many members of the crew.”
In Anna’s statement she said “I witnessed FSM Laurence touch crew member Bart below the hips while negotiating a tight work place (I think she means workspace). Crew member Bart looked uncomfortable with FSM Laurence’s hand placement as his posture straightened and he looked surprised. FSM Laurence also touched me below the hips and it made me uncomfortable.”
Take a look at what Ven said in his statement about me touching his leg. It’s right here. Also read the paragraph below “point 32” which is from Ven’s witness statement.
Having arrived at the front of the aircraft with T and Amy, Anna was only present for a couple of minutes before I asked her to return to Economy.
With seven people working in a very small area nobody saw or was aware of any inappropriate touching. Anyone who has ever worked as cabin crew will know you continuously have to squeeze past colleagues or physically move them out of the way to get by.
In fact we often joked about the galley at the front of the aircraft being the “sorry galley” because you were forever saying “sorry”.
The very nature of this working environment makes working alongside malevolent and devious individuals like Bart and Anna very dangerous.
Both used the situation to their advantage and colluded with other members of the crew. Although Ven, Mia and Peter were naive and stupid enough to go along with their lies, these three ignoramuses were not able to confirm in their own witness statements that they saw me touch anyone inappropriately at any time.
Crew members T, Lottie, Katrina, Claire, the First Officer and Captain of the aircraft all stated they were unaware of any inappropriate touching at any time. Lottie, Katrina and Claire worked alongside me on the flight to and from Atlanta.
Despite eight out of ten crew members confirming in witness statements they didn’t see me touch anyone inappropriately or were even aware of any such behaviour, this allegation was upheld by both cabin crew managers involved in the investigation and subsequently by senior manager xx who heard my appeal.
Two crew failed to return their witness statement. One was Bruce who worked the Upper Class galley, the other a female crew member in Economy.
As previously mentioned in my blog, I even supplied a letter from a doctor of clinical psychology who stated it’s “unlikely” I would have touched anyone inappropriately. He was able to say that because of things that had been discussed in the months prior to me operating this flight.
What makes this whole situation even more damning is that Bart was a serving police officer for eight years. Anna also came from a police background.
With regards to Ven’s allegation of me squeezing his waist, take a moment to think about that. How exactly do you squeeze someone’s waist?
I look very tired in that photo. I had just spoken to my dad who was extremely poorly. I knew he was in the last days of his life. He passed away just over a week later.
He had lived with me since my mum died in 2010, I was his carer for eight years. He was now living in a lovely care home but it had been a long and difficult fight to get him a place. I’ll explain why and talk about that in more detail in the next chapter.
Little did I know when leaving Atlanta on this Christmas afternoon in 2018 with this seemingly happy bunch of cabin crew, that my life would never be the same again.
In Ven’s witness statement he says when he arrived for our flight to Atlanta after being called on standby he didn’t know anyone on the crew. Less than 24 hours later him and Peter are extremely good friends. Whilst that’s fairly common for cabin crew, I have a good reason for mentioning it.
In his comment on Facebook regarding my blog Peter said, “I would never lie maliciously to hurt someone.”
The following comes from his witness statement;
“Laurence spent a lot of time in the flight deck”.
Were this to be true it would have been extremely damaging. My role on the aircraft was to be in the cabin and not to be spending long periods of time chatting with the pilots in the flight deck. By making this statement Peter knew exactly what he was doing.
The comment can only refer to the inbound sector because the outbound flight was half empty and very quiet. He’s clearly trying to accuse me of skiving.
Peter didn’t come to the front of the aircraft once on either the outbound or inbound sector. He states several times in his witness statement that we saw very little of each other during both flights. Therefore he can’t possibly know what I did with my time.
This comes from Ven’s witness statement;
It seems very clear why Peter wrote what he did in his statement. So much for “only being honest and truthful”.
Ironically this comes from his social media page;
As you’ll see as I talk more about what he wrote in his witness statement, he doesn’t have a clue about being kind or mental health but these are great buzz words to get “likes”.
Ven worked position CM7 (CM = Crew Member) which looks after the Premium cabin. He works out of the front galley alongside the Upper Class crew.
I asked him on the inbound flight once he finished his service to help us in Upper Class. That’s the very reason why I allocated him that position. Crew member Katrina was the Upper Class Cabin Supervisor so I don’t understand why Ven believes he was doing that position.
According to Ven’s witness statement, on our inbound flight as well as working in a full Premium cabin looking after thirty eight people, he not only helped out in Upper Class but actually ran the service. He also claims to have done some aspects of my role which was Flight Manager. My rank is two ranks above that of Cabin Crew.
Anyone who has ever flown as crew for the airline and particularly with me, will see through his pathetic lies. His rank is Cabin Crew which is the same as the other eleven crew members on this flight. Furthermore, he wasn’t even the most senior member of crew.
The following screenshot comes from documents submitted as part of my defence. The blue font is the question being asked by Lana the grievance investigation manager. The orange is Ven’s response. The black is my response.
Maybe he thinks he worked the Upper Class Cabin Supervisor position because I asked him to show Katrina who was working up in that position, how to do the drinks bar paperwork. As a Flight Manager it’s not possible to do everything yourself so you have to delegate and rely on your team to help out.
I was relying on Ven because he was a competent and experienced crew member. Unknown to me at the time, he was also irritated at not being able to work up in the rank he was told he would be working when called out that morning.
Regarding his comment about making a seat belt sign P.A, every time I read that it makes me laugh. Let me put the situation into perspective. The onboard managers make all PA’s and always have done. They can if they wish delegate them to one of their crew. That was usually done so the crew member can gain experience making announcements.
During the flight the seat belt sign announcement is made by one of the Cabin Supervisors, usually the one in Economy. It’s mandatory that at least one announcement be made so if not done within a few minutes, the other Cabin Supervisor or Flight Manager will usually do it.
With there being three onboard managers on our flight even though two were working up, Ven claims he made the announcement because “due to lack of experience it wasn’t made.”
When the seatbelt signs were illuminated, T who worked up as Economy Cabin Supervisor in Economy made the announcement just like he made all other announcements he was required to make.
Each time the signs are illuminated a mandatory chain of events takes place. The cabin crew check customers in their section all have their seatbelts fastened. So Ven would have to check the entire Premium cabin. The crew then pass their “checks” to their Cabin Supervisor. Each Cabin Supervisor then advises the Flight Manager who in turn advises the captain.
Ven also stated I didn’t make a welcome announcement after take off. That’s strange considering in his grievance, Bart criticised my “welcome announcement”. This is the reason why as part of the witness statement requested by the company, the crew were asked;
“Please share any observations on Flight Manager Laurence’s PA’s.”
Considering Ven believes he was working as Upper Class Cabin Supervisor and also did parts of my position as Flight Manager, I’m surprised he didn’t claim to have made the after take-off welcome announcement himself. Afterall, in his deluded mind he believes he went over the head of all three on-board managers and made a seatbelt sign announcement because it wasn’t made due to lack of experience.
Part of my responsibility as a Flight Manager was to ensure safety procedures were followed.
Nobody else on the crew commented in their witness statement about me not making the necessary announcements or Ven having to make an announcement. Had this actually taken place I can assure you Bart and Anna would have mentioned it in their statements.
Ven’s lies are worse than his literacy and there’s plenty of them throughout this witness statement. You’ll get to see it in full in a later chapter of my blog.
Even Peter makes reference to my announcements in his witness statement. He says his travelling companion thought they were “were really long and didn’t need to be”.
Ven cites “lack of experience” as being the reason why the seatbelt announcement wasn’t made. He also said I should have taken charge but didn’t. That’s a strange comment to make considering Bart accused me of being a bully and of “overbearing supervision”. Let’s have a look at the experience in the Upper Class cabin on this flight.
I had been with the airline for 30 years, my last 22 were as an onboard manager (first Purser then Flight Manager). Katrina and Claire had both flown previously for another airline for 30 years, 20 of which were as Flight Managers. Lottie was the longest serving crew member, she had been with the company for about 8 years. Making an announcement regarding the seatbelt sign is not only company procedure, it’s a requirement laid down by the UK Civil Aviation Authority.
The most junior crew member in Upper Class was Bart who had only been flying for eleven months. According to minutes taken during his meeting with the crew manager investigating his grievance, he complained he wasn’t given the opportunity to work up as Cabin Supervisor.
As you’ll see from the performance review I wrote on him which will be published in due course, he wasn’t able to do his own job properly let alone run the entire service in the cabin.
In fact I awarded one customer airmiles as compensation because Bart had woken him up for breakfast but never went back to serve him. The customer was completely missed out during the service. He subsequently complained to me mentioning Bart by name.
I spoke to Bart there and then in the presence of Cabin Supervisor Katrina about why the customer had been missed out. I then explained to him the correct way to do the breakfast service in Upper Class.
The form completed for Customer Relations in regards to me awarding the customer airmiles explained exactly what had taken place.
In his complaint Bart told more lies about why the customer was missed out. Needless to say he refused to take any responsibility and put the blame on two of his colleagues.
The following screenshot comes from evidence submitted as part of my defence. It’s regarding the buffet dinner arranged for us in the hotel on Christmas Eve, the day we landed in Atlanta.
Three tables had been set up. Bart, Anna, T, Peter, Mia and their two companions sat at one table along with another two crew members from our flight. I sat on a separate table with the captain, first officer, Lottie, Katrina and Claire. The third table was occupied by the Manchester crew.
The cabin crew member who I was asked to speak to by the captain was Peter.
Despite having seen so little of me during both flights and the entire trip according to his witness statement, Peter says “he (Laurence) came across professional towards customers but to crew I feel he came across unapproachable and not so professional, his attitude made me feel awkward around him”.
On our outbound flight whilst half the cabin crew were on their rest break, I went to the back of the aircraft to check on Peter. He was in the galley alone and we spoke for about ten minutes. He told me he was best friends with Mia, that she had persuaded him to apply for the job of cabin crew and that he also worked in a gym.
Making conversation wasn’t easy which I put down to the large age gap and him still being very new. That was the only time we spoke one-to-one or spent any time alone.
In response to another question he says “I don’t feel he took his time to engage with his crew”. In another, “If I’m honest I didn’t find Laurence approachable in the slightest, mostly because of his briefing and he didn’t take much time to engage with myself.”
Here’s his answer to another question;
“Please share any other information you feel may be relevant to the performance and behaviour of Laurence and crew member Bart on this duty.”
“He (Laurence) also sent an email to all the crew regarding the flight and Voice of Customer which was very unnecessary and long” (just like my announcements then!).
Bearing in mind he’d only been cabin crew for six months and had never flown previously, his comment speaks volumes about how interested he was in his performance and development.
The email he’s referring to was only sent to the four crew working in Economy plus crew member T who worked up as Economy Cabin Supervisor.
Although I occasionally wrote performance assessments from home after a flight, I had never contacted a group of crew in this way. I did so on this occasion because I was disappointed to see a customer on our inbound flight had marked them “Good” on their Voice of Customer questionnaire. A comment was included with the score which said “the stewardess was professional but not engaging”.
In my pre flight briefings I always asked the crew to engage with customers whilst serving them. As you’ll see in due course, this was something I also addressed in Bart’s performance review.
The following two screenshots come from my Pre Flight Briefing. These sections come from evidence submitted as part of my defence;
Cabin crew management had been putting huge pressure on on-board managers to achieve high Voice of Customer scores so being marked “excellent” was really important. Anything less pulled our scores down.
With the outbreak of Covid-19 those scores were used to decide who would be made redundant and who would be offered a place in the holding pool. This shows how important they were.
The holding pool was set up with help from the union so when the business picked up, crew who had been made redundant could be re-employed.
I had always taken a keen interest in my performance and was concerned that my scores had dropped slightly in the previous month. Even though I was still above average, I wanted to get them up as quickly as possible.
The way customers mark the cabin crew directly affects the Flight Manager’s scores. During the inbound pre-flight briefing scores from the outbound flight are shared with the crew. I therefore felt there was no reason why I shouldn’t share scores with this group of crew from our inbound sector. The cabin crew do not have access to them directly.
The only reason for doing this was because three out of the four who worked in Economy had been with the airline for less than twelve months. Crew member T who had recently been turned down for promotion was also working up in a supervisory role.
I was initially only going to email him because I thought he may be interested to know the scores for the flight but then decided to include the rest of the Economy crew as well. I also copied in each of their managers plus my own. Only one out of the four Crew Performance and Development Managers (cabin crew line managers) replied.
Have a guess who the only crew member was to reply. The same person who I said shone brightly and had the potential to go far in the company.
It was Mia, the same Mia who accused me of touching her leg and didn’t find me to be particularly approachable. In her reply she said;
“Thank you, I hope you enjoyed your days off”
Crew member T who worked up didn’t reply either. As you’ll see lower down, I even said in the email “T did an outstanding job working up as Cabin Supervisor”.
As I share more excerpts from Peter’s witness statement you’ll see how his tone changes when he speaks about Bart. They worked at opposite ends of the aircraft and Bart spent almost no time at all in Economy.
You’ll be surprised how much Peter knew about how he worked and how highly he spoke of him. Peter didn’t come to the front of the aircraft where Bart and I were working once on either sector.
Anna who had been with the airline for less than eleven months complained about my email to a crew manager whilst checking in for her next flight. Although she says she spoke with Julie on the 27th it was actually the 28th.
Mia was the crew member who complained to manager Julie with Anna.
The only thing Anna and Mia complained about was the email they received on their days off. Julie told me that had anything been mentioned about inappropriate touching or bullying, a full investigation would have been launched immediately.
The emails she refers to were not included in the investigation paperwork I received so I don’t know the content.
The following screenshot comes from evidence I submitted as part of my defence;
In October 2021 I submitted a Subject Access Request to Human Resources. In accordance with British law they are required to share all information they hold in my personnel file. I have requested everything from December 2018 to the time I was made redundant.
As of mid February 2022 I have still not received this information. I have now filed a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Failure to provide this data is a criminal offence. It should be provided within one month although the employer can request an extension of two months.
The next screenshot comes from Lottie’s witness statement. She worked alongside me in Upper Class. Her statement was honest and accurate.
From what she has written you can imagine what Anna and Mia said about the content of the email. Her comment about me laughing and joking with the crew is a reference to me touching Ven’s ankle whilst on the floor behind him sweeping the carpet. The only crew members present at the time were Lottie and Katrina.
I want to end this page by sharing the email I sent to the Economy crew.
I know it’s longer than necessary but at the time of writing I wasn’t in a great place. Losing myself doing something I enjoyed was a good distraction.
VoC is the Voice of Customer programme. These are questionnaires sent to customers after their flight.