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I received a disciplinary from a Development Manager (Lila Tighilt Warren) in Pret for my mentally ill emailing after the bullying and trauma, the tricks and traps of the HR department in the middle of going through traumatic bereavement already.
I don’t know how I survived.
They put her on my case because she supposedly also had a brother who died similarity to mine. But instead of having a recommendation for her to speak with me outside the disciplinary and let another manager do the disciplinary, they took advantage of her tragedy using her against me in my tragedy, knowing that she may have better access to me, as I was irrational and traumatized from the bullying of several line managers.
The disciplinary would have been valid even, but it became void because she entered into un-allowed / secret contact with me because of our brothers. But her secrecy and weird communications where she would ask me strange things at times put further stress, confusion and frustration on me. I lashed out at her in a drunken stupor at times because I was confused about her secrecy, not wanting me to tell others that we talked.
The sick and abusive thing in this apart from her using my story for her psychological studies as she was in University at the time to additionally become a Psychotherapist, she gave me a disciplinary for my electronic communication (emailing) but then entered into solely electronic communication with me, mainly text messages and some emailing!
This re-started, and even intensified my emailing again. I was then very mercilessly fired three days after Christmas 2017 and while my father was in hospital, just out of a coma.
I repeat myself here, because new readers will visit the blog and it would take ages to read through everything. Pret’s HR of course rejected my appeal of the dismissal, as even a Tribunal Judged called Pret’s HR hearings as well as appeal’s hearings fundamentally flawed. I still appealed even though I knew it wouldn’t help as I have been through the flawed hearings several times, but I appealed in order to be able to go to court. Without appealing the Judge will reject the case as I didn’t appeal, so it was just an appeal to go through the motions. And I based my appeal on the two main things: The Development Manager being in contact with me, confusing me; and the CEO of Pret just two months before I was dismissed calling me his “late night girl” (late night emails to Pret and others), making light of my ill conduct where I tried so hard to stop. He had a laugh, minimizing the seriousness of it.
So, just as a sore in Pret sight I named my website and blog “Late Night Girl” and speak openly about my trauma in Pret which has almost cost me my life.
I filed a Tribunal claim while going back and forth to visit my dad in hospital, then rehab and later dementia ward, but as I don’t have legal aid or a Union Representative, unlike this lady who was also fired from an NHS service for inappropriate emails but won her case, I knew, even if I would win, I wouldn’t be able to mentally see through to a complex and time consuming court case.
My dad died two-and-half months after I got fired and I became unable to work collapsing under one after another tragedy.
What is so scary and a very poor testament for Pret is, that this Development Manager (DM) also is a Hypnotherapist and an NLP Practitioner and studying to be a Psychotherapist. When looking closer into these, especially NLP, those give tools on how to manipulate people. And in hindsight it makes sense now all the weird questions she asked and she didn’t want to speak on the phone and canceled meeting up, as if she wanted everything in writing. She also wanted to get my input as she was writing an essay on anger for university, which I declined as I didn’t know her well. Later she declined showing me her essay when I was interested in what she wrote with the reason that she wanted to protect her volunteers whom she interviewed.
But first of all I don’t know any of the volunteers, and secondly an essay is not that long, a few pages, she could have quickly blacked out the names. And essays are always written with volunteers’ names being pseudonyms, not their real names. So, what most likely happened was that she wrote about my intense anger for her University essay, despite that I declined to partake in it. So, here I am writing openly about her and what Pret has done to me.
“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” Anne Lamott
I know of three high up managers in Pret, including her, who are NLP Practitioners. I only know those three, but this seems to be a trend in Pret and there must be more.
But these three people, two of which are well educated behaving so dishonest, manipulative and unprofessional.
From the times the DM gave me the disciplinary and immediately entering into contact, to the time I was dismissed were 6 months. When I lashed out at the DM a times I apologized many times and was distressed myself why on earth I had a go at her at times. I know in hindsight that it was because of her confusing roles (Manager giving the sanction / Therapist / Friend due to our brothers).
But after about three months into our contact, she sent me the following screenshot in a text message one morning without any explanation. She must have been reading and studying for University and texted me what she was studying without any explanation whatsoever. She sent this screenshot with some sentences highlighted and with the words:
“I was reading this and it made me think of you.”
Further confused and plainly angry that she was implying I would “die sad and alone”, and then for her not to further explain why she sent this to me was another reason for further distress in the middle of trauma already. Even in the first assessment with a Psychologist weeks before I got fired, the Psychologist called the DM’s conduct abusive, in the least already because this was a trust relationship, even if we did not enter into a contract for official therapy sessions.
It was abuse of power (Manager giving disciplinary), abuse of trust (like a friend due to our brothers) and abuse of boundaries and for her own gain in therapy studies and for personal advancement (Therapist). She should know better than anyone about boundaries and professionalism. But even my last therapist when he heard the story said that she is not behaving as a therapist should. She crossed boundaries that turned out to be very damaging to me and Pret wanted me to sign a settlement where I also would not be able to go to court against her in the future.
This is Pret “doing the right thing naturally”.
I have filed a complaint with the Hypnotherapy governing body that is over her, but they are also just sweet talking not really wanting to investigate. I have left it at that and can only warn to be cautious regarding Hypnotherapy and NLP and certainly Pret A Manger.
I hope one day she will understand what damage she has done in allowing Pret to use her like this and for her to abuse my vulnerability in trauma. She is not fit to be any type of therapist.
I have no confidence in much of the therapists anymore and certainly in no way Hypnotherapy and NLP which I never trusted in the first place anyway. But her conduct just sealed my mistrust.
Pret has lost more than I have. I just lost a job and will find a new one, no matter what reference they will give me.
But Pret not only has lost a very skilled team leader who has integrity, passion and love for people, I survived and live to tell my story and will never be silent again.
More staff complaints of current and former Pret employees who were smarter than I to leave earlier and not struggle against a toxic and corrupt system.
I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.
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