|Table of Contents |
The Ugly Truth Part 3
Page 1 – The Ugly Face of Revenge
Page 2 – The Day That Changed my Life
Page 2 – When It All Becomes Too Much
Page 3 – Shalom Tel Aviv
Page 4 – Great Customer Feedback
Page 5 – Cue Second Disciplinary
Page 6 – Outcome of the Investigation
Page 7 – The Last Page
The Ugly Truth Part 5 (TBA)
The Ugly Face of Revenge
Part 4 of 30 years a Virgin the Ugly Truth is mainly about my first and only encounter with a director of the company. I’m going to refer to him as Jack.
Before getting onto that story I first want to talk about why I believe Head of Cabin Crew senior manager xx who I’ve spoken about extensively previously, was so determined for me to lose my job. I may go off track slightly at times to include other relevant information.
In 2011 senior manager xx and I had an encounter that ended with me reporting her for breach of confidentiality. I believe in 2019 when my name came to her attention in the grievance raised by Bart, she used the opportunity to get back at me.
When a second incident was then reported to her by company director Jack, she probably thought all her Christmases had come at once. She asked for it to be dealt with as a grievance and if upheld, I was to be served with a final written warning. The grievance raised against me by Bart was also being dealt with as a final written warning.
She would have been aware that in line with company policy, I could then lose my job.
Quite early on in the first grievance investigation I sensed something wasn’t right. Despite Bart’s complaint being made up entirely of lies, cabin crew manager Lana who conducted the initial investigation didn’t seem overly bothered.
In law, the objective of a grievance is described as being an opportunity to collate balanced evidence from both sides and to be fair and objective. It’s not about proving guilt. The purpose of the investigation is to establish whether there has been a breach of any company policies.
It was clear from the start, this investigation was taking a completely different direction. There was no interest in establishing whether allegations made by Bart were truthful. The company only wanted to prove that my alleged behaviour and actions breached company policy.
The evidence being examined was far from balanced. Every single word I said in my defence was the truth and backed up with hard evidence. Bart lied throughout his entire complaint and the only evidence to support what he said came from crew members with whom he colluded.
Having seen all documentation submitted in relation to the case, I could see he had not even been advised that should it be discovered he had made false or baseless claims he could face disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
This ex serving police officer knew exactly what he was doing. He had colluded with several members of the crew one of whom was his fiancee. This made defending myself against the allegations incredibly difficult.
Despite witness statements from the three cabin crew members who worked alongside Bart and I telling a completely different story, the investigating managers and subsequently senior manager xx took little notice of what they said. They did however believe every word that was written by the four or possibly five crew members with whom Bart colluded.
I supplied extensive evidence to prove not only that collusion had taken place, but also that statements made by at least four of the crew were bare faced lies. In the outcome to my appeal senior manager xx stated she could find no evidence of collusion.
Later in my blog when I speak about the investigation in full, you’ll see that collusion between Bart, his now ex fiancee and crew members Ven, Mia and Peter could not have been more obvious. I’ve already spoken in a previous chapter about a claim made by Bart, Anna and Ven that I didn’t enter working positions into my company iPad.
All cabin crew line managers report to senior manager xx. Since publishing the first chapter of my blog I had been told by more than one ex cabin crew manager she’s the driving force behind most if not all grievance investigations.
Following the initial investigation carried out by cabin crew manager Lana, I was told there was a case to answer. The matter was then passed to cabin crew manager Hayley who dealt with the disciplinary. Following her investigation all complaints against me were upheld, including one that had already been dismissed.
I immediately submitted an appeal that was dealt with by senior manager xx. She dismissed two points from Bart’s complaint. One of those had already been dismissed by crew manager Lana but had subsequently been upheld by Hayley. Clearly she had not read Lana’s report properly or at all.
Dismissing these two points made no difference to the overall outcome.
The first point she dismissed can be seen in the following screenshot which comes from the outcome of her investigation. The second I’ll cover in a future chapter.
Regarding the comment “up shit creek without a paddle”, what I actually said can be seen in Bart’s original complaint;
I have always known the phrase as “up shit creek without a paddle”. Being aware how easy it is to cause offence nowadays, I omitted the word “shit”. In the initial grievance meeting and subsequent correspondence however I referred to the phrase in full as I had always known it. From then on the focus of the complaint became about my inappropriate choice of words.
The following screenshot comes from the outcome of the initial investigation;
It was only whilst preparing documentation for my appeal that I looked back at Bart’s complaint and realised I hadn’t used the word “shit” at all.
Bart’s allegation that my briefing included “a bombardment and tirade of safety questions” and that I subsequently “became visibly and verbally annoyed despite everyone answering” was a devious and malicious lie. Witness statements from the rest of the crew failed to give any indication I was visibly or verbally annoyed.
Throughout his complaint Bart recounted situations that had taken place and manipulated the context. Most of them had been witnessed by other members of crew. He knew that would make the allegations even more difficult for me to defend. Getting other crew members to support his lies was very important. Luckily for me, those with whom he colluded were not the sharpest tools in the shed.
Proving the context of the situations was not as Bart described was incredibly difficult. This ex police officer was using his past experience to frame me. Framing someone involves manipulating or modifying the truth in an attempt to prove guilt.
The following screenshot which comes from evidence I submitted to the company shows how Bart manipulated what I said to support his allegation that I was “visibly and verbally annoyed”.
Crew manager Hayley who was repeatedly described by senior manager xx as “a very experienced manager” probably only skimmed through the outcome of the previous manager’s investigation. She was therefore unaware my use of the phrase “up the creek without a paddle” had already been dismissed. In her farcical investigation that took six weeks to complete, she upheld the complaint and described her reasons for doing so.
Here’s what she said;
The crew members who complained about the different style of delivery of my pre-flight briefing were Bart, his now ex fiancee Anna and crew members Peter and Mia. All four had been with the airline for less than twelve months.
I proved conclusively in evidence submitted as part of my defence that Anna, Peter and Mia had colluded with Bart regarding answers given in their witness statements. He had also colluded with crew member Ven who wasn’t present in the pre-flight briefing.
Katrina and Claire who had been with their previous airline for thirty years and crew member T who had been with Virgin for several years and was working up in a supervisory role on our flight, had no complaints about any aspect of the briefing.
In the grievance raised against me by Bart he said he wished for “a suitable sanction be put in place“. Something else he said can be seen in the screenshot below which also comes from minutes taken during his meeting with cabin crew manager Lana. Pedro was the Employee Relations Consultant.
In case haven’t looked at the link just above, what Bart said was that he was “happy for the sanction against me to be as severe as loss of employment.”
Bear in mind, I had been in my role as a Flight Manager for nineteen years and had been with the airline for 30 years. Bart was still in his probation period having joined less than a year earlier.
According to his LinkedIn profile, the Employment Relations Consultant who is no longer employed by the company is a qualified solicitor in employment law.
Bart criticised my use of the words “quite why” in his performance review saying he felt I was being sarcastic and was ridiculing him. He claimed that amounted to bullying and harassment. Take a look at what I wrote, it’s right here.
Despite my repeated claims from the start that Bart and his accomplices were lying, nobody during any stage of the grievance investigation or subsequent appeal questioned them further. I supplied more than 500 pages of evidence to prove they were lying yet it made no difference.
The following was written by crew manager Lana who carried out the initial investigation. It’s in relation to my use of the words “quite why”.
When you read the last paragraph and then read Bart’s complaint and witness statements written by Anna and Ven, it shows how biased and farcical the entire investigation was.
Someone was determined for this grievance to be upheld and I’m fairly certain who that was.
Crew manager Lana states elsewhere in her investigation that my words were not respectful or professional. She says I gave no consideration as to how Bart may feel from reading my performance review.
His complaint was rude, incredibly disrespectful and downright offensive. The fact he said he was “happy” for the sanction against me to lead to loss of employment speaks volumes about his nature and character. The union rep’ who accompanied me to several meetings said she had never heard anyone say anything like that before.
Company policy recommends disputes initially be dealt with through mediation. Despite Bart still being in his probation he refused this option. I believe that was because having told a pack of lies, there was no way he’d be able to support his diatribe in a face to face meeting.
Two managers and a senior manager didn’t consider his complaint or witness statements written by Ven and Anna to be in breach of the “Our Standards” or “Anti Harassment and Bullying” policies. They did however deem that my use of the words “quite why” was in breach of both.
I’m going to deviate here to cover something else that took place. Lower down are some screenshots which come from Bart’s complaint and Anna’s witness statement. The situation is regarding a “pornographic video” that I showed on the bus to the airport in Atlanta. It was an adult naughty gay cartoon that was sent to me by the First Officer shortly after we sat down on the bus. I had known him for many years.
After receiving the video I replayed it on my iPhone and was laughing to myself. Bart claims when I replayed it I was also commenting on it but there really wasn’t that much to say about it.
I was then asked by crew members T and Ven who were sitting a couple of rows behind me what I was laughing at. With them both being gay I turned around and showed them the video.
Bart states in his complaint I angled my phone away from his side of the bus. That was true, due to the content I wanted to ensure nobody else could see it. Witness statements confirmed nobody else was aware of the content of the video. What T says about the incident in his witness statement is particularly interesting. You’ll see that in a later chapter.
Needless to say, in his complaint and in Anna’s witness statement they state they both saw the video and found it offensive. Here’s what actually happened. After replaying the video for T and Ven who were sat next to each other, they both asked me to send them a copy. Having done that, T who was sitting just across the aisle from Anna replayed it on his own device. I could hear them all laughing as it replayed. The video had music so I knew they were watching it. Because of the angle I was holding my iPhone when I played the video to T and Ven, Anna and Bart could not possibly have seen it. They were sat two rows behind me on the opposite side of the bus. Anna was just across the aisle from T in the aisle seat. Bart was next to her in the window seat. They would only have been able to see the video when T replayed it on his own device.
Take a look at these screenshots. The first comes from Bart’s complaint. You’ll notice he’s very specific about the content of the cartoon;
This comes from Anna’s witness statement.
Bear in mind our outbound flight to Atlanta was half empty. I had given the crew a two hour break in the bunks despite it being a day flight and there being no requirement for them to have a rest break in the bunks.
The flight crew (pilots) do not deliver any kind of brief to the cabin crew on the bus. The captain just wished everyone a Merry Christmas because it was Christmas Day. Note how Anna even claims I gave the video a name! The video is an animated cartoon that lasts less than a minute.
You may recall in an earlier chapter I said Anna and Ven repeatedly use the phrase “it made me feel (very) uncomfortable” throughout their statements.
I provided evidence to the company to show that I chatted with my partner for the remainder of the short bus journey to the airport on WhatsApp. Therefore I didn’t as Anna stated, turn my phone off.
The next screenshot is from evidence submitted as part of my defence. I’m referring to the meeting Bart had with crew manager Lana in relation to his complaint. I had seen the minutes of the meeting;
I want to share more of Anna’s witness statement with you. Regarding what she says, I’m two inches taller than her. In the photo in the previous link she’s the crew member not wearing a Christmas sweatshirt. Not a single word she says in her witness statement is supported by the three experienced crew members who worked alongside Bart and I in Upper Class. Very little of it was supported by cabin crew member T who worked up as Cabin Supervisor alongside her at the back of the aircraft either.
He told me prior to the flight two of the cabin crew were his friends. One of those friends was Anna, the other was Mia.
I had proved repeatedly that Anna was a liar but needless to say, it fell on deaf ears.
As someone who was already struggling with confidence since returning to work after being off for almost two years in 2016, you can’t imagine how reading these wicked lies made me feel.
In the following screenshot the blue text is from Bart’s complaint. The second paragraph is from Anna’s witness statement. The remaining text is from crew member Ven’s statement.
According to witness statements written by other crew members, nobody noticed any unusual behaviour between myself and Bart at any time.
This last screenshot also comes from Anna’s complaint. The matter of entering cabin crew working positions into my company iPad has already been explained.
The fact all three mention this confirm collusion did take place. None of them had any way of knowing whether I entered positions or not. That’s only visible on my iPad which nobody had access to. Ven believed I had not entered positions because he did not understand how the system worked. He then shared that information with Bart and Anna.
If employee mental health was taken seriously Bart, Anna and Ven would have been dismissed immediately.
Although Anna was made redundant in response to Covid-19, Bart and Ven are still employed.
As an employee with an excellent work record who had been with the airline for 30 years, I received a final written warning for bullying, harassment and inappropriate touching.
In the days before hearing my appeal, senior manager xx requested a second incident that had been brought to her attention be dealt with as a grievance.
When redundancies were announced these two disciplinaries led to me losing my job. I was told the reason was also because I was an underperforming Flight Manager but my recorded performance scores to September 2018 (see previous link) shows I was well above average. I had also been told that many times over several years by my manager.
The manager who dealt with the second disciplinary (not the manager who initially investigated it) downgraded it to a written warning. For that reason I wasn’t immediately dismissed. The outcome was delivered just before the outbreak of Covid. I dealt with that second grievance whilst on long term sick with issues relating to my mental health.
The one thing I struggled with the most was understanding what it was the company had against me. I say the “the company” but I’m fairly certain senior manager xx Head of Cabin Crew was in fact the person driving both grievance investigations from the start.
I was convinced from quite early on that something more sinister was going on. Despite submitting huge amounts of evidence to prove Bart and his accomplices were lying, nobody showed any interest in questioning them further.
I initially thought senior manager xx wanted me out because of my sickness record but that did seem quite extreme. Although I’d been off for almost two years in 2016, I hadn’t had any further sickness since returning to work. That only changed as I struggled to deal with the first grievance investigation.
I then thought it could be because of the type of contract I was on. The airline had been trying desperately to make changes to it for many years. Only a small number of very senior crew were still on this particular contract. Following the outbreak of Covid-19 it was one of the first things to go.
As mad as that sounds, it seemed the only plausible reason for what was clearly a witch hunt. Afterall, senior manager xx was “responsible for implementing performance improvement plans with a focus on enhancing cabin crew productivity.”
It wasn’t until I started writing my blog that I remembered something that had happened between us some years earlier. It was a “eureka” moment and everything immediately fell into place. She didn’t want me out because of my sickness or contract, this was about revenge.