The Question if I filed a Court Claim against Pret A Manger

 

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The more people learn about my story with Pret the more the question comes up if I went to court against Pret.

Yes I did. But I withdrew.

 

If you are a new reader to my ordeal with Pret A Manger, you will be confused and overwhelmed as my story is very complex and long. Those who have been following since the beginning when I started to publish on my blog in May 2018 have a good picture on what I went through.

This will eventually turn into a chronological book of events.

 

But to briefly answer the repeated and valid question if I sued Pret or if not, then why not, which I was just asked today again on Facebook, I decided to write this in a blog and just link to it.

 

When I was dismissed after being bullied, manipulated, gaslighted, held low, lied to by Pret’s toxic HR department, and continuously patronized by Pret’s CEO, Clive Schlee, who is not willing to label products for allergen information but was willing to label me his “late night girl” after the ordeal I went through… when I was dismissed three days after Christmas 2017 with my dad in intensive care just woken out of a coma, I filed a Tribunal claim as soon as I was able to in February 2018 as you have 3 months minus 1 day to file a claim.

In the meantime I was flying back and forth again between London and Germany to be with my dad (who was in hospital since 10.11.2017) as best I could on his bed side and then later in rehab. In the middle of all this I started to prepare for the Tribunal claim which would have happened in September 2018 with the first preliminary hearing in April 2018.

But I had no legal aid as I cannot afford lawyer fees. I scrapped all legal information together as best as I could, going from Citizen Advise Bureau to other free legal advisors to online researching back and forth, while also flying back and forth between London and my father’s bed side.

 

For people in the USA to understand, the legal system in the UK or in Europe in general is very different to the USA. Since 2015 on and off I contacted various law firms including pro-Bono, no-win no-fee firms, I even had a lawyer for a while who advised me for free. But I had to find out later again that he only wanted to make a quick buck by settling with Pret and get his 30%+ fee from the settlement. He didn’t really advise me properly anyway and even gave me some false advise at times which I later found out when I continued to do my “homework” researching online. I rejected four settlement offers from Pret, three while still working in Pret, and the fourth one via negotiating with the ACAS conciliator while withdrawing the Tribunal claim I raised and then closed. I dropped the “charitable” lawyer as soon as I found he was just looking for fast money himself.

In the USA lawyers would line up like vultures wanting to sue Pret on my behalf as the compensation can be ridiculously huge. In the UK the compensation would have maybe be maximum £10.000, maybe even more and mostly around £8000.

One former assistant manager who became homeless after being unfairly dismissed from Pret has gotten under £10K.

 

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff

Link

 

But 33% for the lawyer is peanuts for them to go all the way through with days and days of preliminary and then the main hearings. The free lawyer I had for a while also kept saying to me that it takes months before the hearings take place. In the UK they don’t bother for this “little” amount, while the Millions that can be won in the USA has lawyers drooling for cases like mine.

 

My father then died in March this year, and again I found myself crumbled under the weight of what life has thrown at me since I learned of my brother’s death in January 2015 (but he died in December 2014) and all I went through in Pret. Autopilot kicked in again, but I couldn’t cope anymore. Enough is enough. I want to die, but I want to live. I need a break.

 

1971-07-14 WK PK2 crop

WK 1939 – 2018

 

I withdrew my claim against Pret as my father died in the middle of preparing for the court case with scraps of legal advise I stumbled through, and my mental health taking another nose dive beyond basement level. But I did my homework and asked the Tribunal for the right to file a second claim later should I decide to file again. And I was granted this request.

If I will raise a second claim or if the time limit will be over, I don’t want to talk about.

But this is the reason why I withdrew my case, as it is so complex which involved the heart of Pret, the CEO, HQ, Head of HR, a Development Manager who was used to gaslight me etc. etc. etc. Unwillingly and unprecedented I poked into the heart of Pret, and for me to go all the way through to court without a lawyer going all the way with me would be suicide, as I cannot handle even small stress mentally at this time.

So, lucky for Pret I withdrew, but lucky for me I didn’t sign my rights away for peanuts. And even if Pret had offered me a huge amount, I don’t prostitute my values nor sign my rights away for life. So, I published now.

 

What happened to Natasha Ednan-Laperouse and her family has utterly devastated and shaken me. I wrote it before I have learned of her death, that having worked in Pret is my biggest regret in life. And now having learned of her tragedy, I am deeply ashamed to have ever given my time, effort and skill to this company, and having tried to improve work conditions from within while extremely traumatized myself. A company’s facade that does not care for people’s lives and health will get more and more cracks in time, with a glimpse behind the scenes of their carelessness.

 

Ednan-Laperouse

 

 

My heart and prayers go out to Natasha’s family and friends; her brother Alex, her mum and dad Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse.

 

 

I hope in time more people will come forward, especially on the issue of suicide in Pret as well as work conditions, bullying and customer injuries. On work conditions this former employee was the first to go public, I am the second and in time I hope more will follow. And I hope Natasha’s family pursue Pret in court as they have the finances for legal aid and the public behind them now with many warnings Pret ignored.

 

Thank you for reading and please open your eyes to Pret and take a closer look behind the facade, as indeed take a closer look at ANY company or organization that looks too good to be true in this profit driven society today.

If you don’t take anything away from my publications, ask yourself if anyone can really smile and be “happy” for 8+ hours DAILY in an intensely high stressed work environment out of true “happiness” or if there is anything else behind this!

 

And my question to Pret A Manger remains: If an assistant manager died by suicide in 2017, I almost did as well after my turmoil at work, and now Natasha’s death in 2016 is revealed, HOW MANY MORE people died and/or suffered hospitalization, depression, mental health issues, physical and mental injuries in relation to Pret.

 

2018-09-16 Re Emily to Pret

Link to Tweet

 

The only way I cope is to write, and to write creatively of my ordeal. I said it to Pret while I still worked there that it is a mistake to mistreat someone who suffered loss and is a writer, as that person has nothing to lose anymore. And as Madeleine Peyroux wrote so poignantly in her song “Don’t Pick A Fight With A Poet”, Pret in their arrogance and feeling invincible, #toobigtofail, again did not heed yet another warning.

 

 

Some blog entries that give a good glance behind the shiny PR(et) facade:

 

Selected “Quotes of the Day” from substantial, but not exhaustive list of Pret Staff Complaints.

 

How I became a late night girl as “labelled” by Pret’s CEO Clive Schlee.

 

Pret A Mask

 

An important Open Letter to the Director HR.

 

And finally, I take the sentence back at the end of this “video” that Pret has a good heart. I take that back. The good heart in Pret is the hard-working teams I had the privilege to look after. But I leave this “video” as a reminder and a sore in Pret’s sight of my passion, care and love for people, having tried to improve work conditions while myself being traumatized and mistreated by the top leadership of Pret, leaders in HR and HQ!

 

 

 


 

As my blog has grown into a maze of writings, I created a “Mind Map”, an overview to the most important blog entries for the reader not to get cluttered with posts. To understand the main issues that I have survived, please visit My Ordeal with Pret A Manger overview, click on the arrow next to each heading that you choose which will lead directly to posts back onto this blog. Thank you for reading.

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

A bully is strong???

 

A wonderful campaign to change the definition of bully in the dictionary!

Current definition in several dictionaries:
bully1 n. (pl.bullies) Those who use strength or influence to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.

Campaign to change the wording to:
bully1 n. (pl.bullies) A person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable.

The online Oxford dictionary has changed this.

 

From AntiBullyingPro: Young People Who Are Being Bullied No Longer Defined As ‘Weak’

 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.

©2017 – 2019 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Quote of the Day #48 – Pret A Mouthful!

 

10-Signs-of-A-Difficult-Boss-and-How-To-Deal-With-It-8

 

This is a review from February 2018 of a multi-tasking TM who covers for Barista, Hot Chef, probably also kitchen as many of those “multi-taskers” are thrown into all kinds of jobs to cover after managers cut staff all over the place to maximize profit. So, this person knows what they’re talking about.

Several Quotes of the Day:

“Considering it’s a coffee shop, you are not allowed to drink in view of the customers. At lunchtimes you are not allowed to leave the till between 12-2pm so end up with a dry mouth and feeling fatigued. You can sneak a drink sometimes behind a wall, but if you’re caught by the manager you get a telling off.

Additional NOTE: I always let my team drink water behind the counter if they weren’t allowed to leave the counter area. Behind the coffee counter with air conditioning often not working properly the air is dry and overheated. Excruciating and inhumane to work like this dehydrated.

 

Living in London you will hardly have enough to live off of. Even with bonus, the wage is not realistic considering the cost of living in the city and the amount of work you have to do at Pret.

The mystery shoppers are very picky and you can lose your bonus for simply being too engrossed in the task you’re dealing with. E.g. restocking a fridge and not stopping and turning to say hi, how are they etc.

Additional NOTE: Again, inhumane.

 

Also when you’re short staffed you may not be able to constantly check the shop floor, and you will get marked down for uncleanliness and again lose your bonus. Very unrealistic expectations

 

You will never get time to 100% finish a task because customers come first. A good policy, but not so good when you’re restocking drinks and a leader will make you go to the till because they can’t be bothered to serve themselves. Amongst other scenarios.

Additional NOTE: Poor management for which Pret is known for.

 

Clash with management. Sometimes your manager will tell you to do something, and then the assistant manager will tell you to do something else or question why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s annoying and stressful at times when you feel like you’ve done something wrong but it’s what you’ve been told to do!! Have to split yourself into a million pieces.

Additional NOTE: Again, poor management for which Pret is known for.

 

Being a Barista can be highly stressful at busy times and some customers are not forgiving/highly impatient which adds to the stress factor. Flustered team members add to the chaos.

 

Quick turnaround of staff. Some shops are constantly losing and gaining new staff so it can be stressful trying to deal with peoples mistakes. We’ve all been there, but it just makes the day a lot harder when you have 3 or 4 new staff on the tills shouting the wrong drinks etc.

Additional NOTE: Again, poor management, solely profit driven, no care for staff and customers.

 

Managers tend to cut hours…

 

Weekly rota that usually gets given to you a day before the new working week starts, so you generally can’t plan things because you don’t know what shift you’re on.

Additional NOTE: Rotas that should be ready on display two weeks in advance. I worked with over a dozen managers, and only 2 GMs managed to have the rota ready according to standard two weeks in advance and communicated well if they needed to change the schedule a little. Most managers are at a loss of how to do the rota and do the rota on time.

 

You tend to get stuck on certain shifts for weeks on end so make sure you voice your opinion if you don’t want to close for the 6th week in a row.

Additional NOTE: In the first months of my bereavement my then GM put me on 5 months late shift which isolated me from vital support from friends as I got home around 10pm. I voiced my complain but to no avail. This is when my ordeal of the bullying during grief started!

 

The positions are hardly worth it for the pay you get. Better off being a team member if you don’t see Pret as a long term career prospect.

 

Raise the wages. For the money pret spends on waste or joy of pret budget, some could be put towards a £1 pay rise for staff (not including bonus).” 

Additional NOTE: That’s not going to happen unless a lot of people leave Pret.

 

2018-08-16-48-pret-a-mouthful.jpg

February 2018 review of an All-rounder in London.

 

Extensive list of Pret Staff Complaints from different years, locations and positions.

 

NOTE:

Since I compiled all the staff complaints there seem to be quite a lot more “positive” reviews appearing, especially regarding “good” management and work environment. If there are fake news, I am not alleging anything but there may be fake reviews! Knowing how Pret and their corrupt HR dept. manipulate, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is tasked to write these reviews.

Since I compiled all these complaints, the Pret website as well as the CEO’s has as the main pinned Tweets the “good” deeds Pret & the CEO are doing, again excellent PR. There are good managers and good shops of course, but the management style in Pret to pressure for more targets and profit, is poisoned throughout the company. And in time the truth will always come out.

As true reviews will always continue on the same lines of horrible and bullying management until this changes. Pret does annual staff questionnaires that are at times manipulated by management. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if some are leaving fake reviews.

In the meantime, click on ANY of the below reviews and read the same from different years, even days ago and different countries, in a nutshell: bullying, discriminating management, over worked, missing pay etc.

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.

©2017 – 2019 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

 

Quote of the Day #37 – Pret A Scream

 

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Quotes of the Day: (Where to start!)

 

This job was one of the worst working experiences I’ve ever had. The management was horrendous… I felt like I was a slave, the manager would scream at me like I was a dog to make the items faster…

One of the things that I absolutely hated about working at pret, was the fact that management wanted you to act like you were were having fun and smile at all times. Obviously you want to treat the costumers great by smiling but they don’t know what happens in the back and how much stress you have to go through to get all the stuff done in TIME… There’s also no job security because you could get fired for the tiniest thing… you need to dedicate yourself to pret 110%. The manager was always putting me down making me feel like I wasn’t giving my best and threatened to fire me if i didn’t make X amount of item per hour… whoever is reading this and is considering to work or apply to this company, PLEASE don’t do it

 

I have read you and so will others! I believe you. I have been there.

I can underline every word here. In bullet points:

  • The co-workers are great, and I can verify this, the teams most of the time are wonderful, hard working, follow really well the lead as a team leader if you respect them, help/support them and treat them well. It is just when people start moving into management levels, that they start to change and turn from being nice to being task masters out of pressure and immaturity handling power and leadership without adequate training in leadership principles and skills.
  • Fear management
  • Constant threat to job security
  • Unnecessary pressure, even if you don’t mind working hard, it is never good enough!
  • Emotional labour, forced to smile non-stop even while unrealistic (I was bereaved and treated with NO mercy!)
  • Horrendous management …

 

I could go into every sentence in this review, but I want to explain something about this forced happiness and smiling that this reviewer put so well into words:

Quote: “One of the things that I absolutely hated about working at pret, was the fact that management wanted you to act like you were were having fun and smile at all times.

This expectation is so warped and twists your emotional well-being into this sick feeling and eventually makes you mentally ill. On the one hand there is a manager shouting at you, manipulating you, threatening you with your job security, day in day out – and then on the other hand – is expecting you to be HAPPY and SMILE!

If you have never experienced this sick abuse and perversion of emotions, and this IS abuse and perversion, you will never understand how this feels, and especially when you even go through bereavement on top of this!!! It is textbook emotional abuse!

After I was transferred to a shop of one particular line manager in the middle of my traumatic grief and grievance hearings after being bullied extensively, we had a poor Mystery Shopper result. The Misery Shopper as I call it, literally stated that upon entering the shop they felt “miserable”. No one was smiling, no friendliness etc. So, we lost bonus and had one of the poorest scores ever in the company.

The line manger gathered us team members in the kitchen and gave the biggest “anti-motivational” speech I have ever heard! He ranted on about how “a smile is part of your uniform!” We were supposed to leave our problems at home, and smiling is part of our job description. He repeated that a few times as it seemed he loved the sound of it…

I remember my paralyzed emotions and disbelieve that this nightmare never seems to stop. He then went on to say if we had anything to say about this, to speak up then and there, because later he won’t accept anyone to come to him about this. In hindsight I believe he said this because he knew the team was too intimidated to say something right then and there. But he didn’t realize that when you have lost a loved one, you have nothing to lose anymore as the depth of grief and pain can never be topped with bully-crap management like this.

Perplexed I said to him that I rather would want to say something in person later in the office, not in the group as I felt very strongly to tell him something for which he was notorious, but I didn’t want to be disrespectful to my boss in front of the team! He persisted and said, “speak up now or later there is no opportunity!” I asked surprised if he was sure, he just looked at me. So, I said to him calling him by his name: “But So-and-so, you never smile!”

He was visible taken aback a little and immediately “corrected” me, that it is not up to me to tell him this, but that it is up to his boss to tell him this. I apologized and thought to myself…. what I won’t write here!

But from then on I could see an improvement where he made an effort to smile and be a LEADER and an EXAMPLE in what he expects from his team! He also improved in encouraging the team after I mentioned in the office later that teams are never motivated by being told off all the time, but with some encouragement, miracles happen!

Needless to say, I never gotten promoted nor given the credit for building the team UP instead of tearing them DOWN!

I was getting tired of having to train managers who reaped the harvest!

So, it’s my turn now to rant and rave, and to have my “I-have-a-Scream-speech” moment!

 

 

2014-12-26 NY GOOD

Former Team Member, NY

 

Numerous Staff Complaints along the same lines.

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.

©2017 – 2019 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Workplace Bullying Costs Lives

 

not only money!

 

Regarding my trauma and Pret Staff Complaints.

 

The following is the best video lesson on workplace bullying out there, at least that I know of.

If you can spare 12 mins to watch this, it may help detect workplace bullying (and any bullying at that) earlier, as this is often very subtle. And please pass this on, it may even make a person who bullies or those who witness it rethink their actions.

One quote from the video: “Bullying is a form of violence.”

… costs lives

At around 4:55 min, quote: “… Employers just get more creative avoiding the issue, forcing targets down formal grievance procedures, rather than taking the matter in hand. Organizations committed to stamping out bullying are proactive, they don’t make the injured party drive the process.” This is exactly what I went through, being diverted to raise grievance after grievance in a toxic environment that I had no chance to tackle the problem. In my anger and being sarcastic to cope with this I wrote my own “how to’s” on grievance hearings and how to conduct them fairly and truly impartial.

If you feel bullied or if you witness someone being bullied, please get help. Do not be silent, don’t look away, and don’t take part in the bullying. Don’t be intimidated by being enticed to join the bullies, even if this means you will get yourself into trouble. You won’t stay in trouble forever and in the long-run you will gain true friends, true supporters and will be able to sleep at night. When people play with unfair cards and you join an unfair game, you will be dealt with unfair cards in time to come by the same people you supported.

Or take it the other way around: when you stand by and support a vulnerable person who’s being mistreated, one day that vulnerable person may become strong again, maybe even influential. And maybe your paths cross again, imagine how this person who has become strong again and maybe even influential, may remember you. I for myself remember those who helped me more than those who mistreated me. We should never forget that life is an up and down. People will not always be at the top or at the bottom. Life is not a straight line but a journey through valleys, mountains, on water, through the desert, in an oasis…

The last thing I would want to have is an encounter with a person who used to be vulnerable, was bullied during their darkest time and I just stood there watching or even worse being part of a mob. I would not want to meet that person again, especially when they regained their strength back. I am not talking about revenge or bitterness, I am talking about missed opportunities to make a positive impact in someone’s life.

Stand by the one who is being bullied and then you are already two. Maybe a third person joins you and the target, and then you would be three… and before you know it you have outgrown the mob and brought to light what is actually happening. Point the light on it, raise the volume up, but don’t look away!

As the narrator of this video says right at the beginning, “[bullying] thrives in silence”, as does all wrong doing!

In my worst time, two days before the first anniversary of my brother’s death I was bullied so extensively that I still can’t understand how I went through this. I still suffer and am paranoid that people are “out to get me”.

Whatever you do to get help, do NOT stay alone! Take it from me, you will have no chance, no matter how right you are or how the facts and evidence is on your side, a “mob” of people, especially people in high positions who have the power and resources will back each other, lie, continue to bully in more subtle ways. Keep gathering evidence, even if just writing events and conversations down in a journal. But do not stay alone!

I wasted three years during an already extremely traumatizing time of bereavement, being bullied and trying to change the work environment, playing with open cards, naively giving them the benefit of the doubt, and in my trauma even blamed myself. And they conveniently turned it around transforming me from the victim to the villain at times.

I became very angry and ill, not dealing well with this nightmare. I lashed out, helplessly, cried out for help, started to drink which is another building site I’m working on, raised grievance after grievance that where conducted in a flawed way, was tricked and trapped again and again.

I will eventually turn my “rants” into a softer tone again, but for now this is how I write because I almost lost my life.

pexels-photo-339814

 

 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.

©2017 – 2019 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.