ACAS Guide to Bereavement at Work

 

A guide I have passed on to Pret A Manger since May 2015 when I first approached HR to make suggestions after my then line manager had me on prolonged 5 months late shifts and refused to rotate my shifts like it was before I became bereaved.

I approached HR, not to raise grievances or complain but to just bring ideas and suggestions. I never imagined that approaching HR would put a target on my back.

I speak extensively about my ordeal with Pret on my blog and podcast interview.

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I passed the ACAS Guide to Bereavement at the Workplace to HR and several different managers, area managers and anyone in a responsible position between 2015 and 2017. But of course apart from sweet-talk and the horrendous treatment that followed, lead from the very top, this guide was not taken into consideration. If this is now in Pret’s sight, than certainly after I left Pret.

I will keep it short as people who are really interested in this can read the guide and download the PDF file that ACAS has posted in partnership with Cruse Bereavement Care, the largest bereavement short-term support charity in the UK that I visited early on in my bereavement as well.

I just want to point out some things concerning bullying during bereavement and how my situation became 10 times worse than I could have ever anticipated even could happen to people who go through grief and trauma.

This will always be on Pret’s resume as well as how they dealt, or rather how they did NOT deal with TWO customer deaths, and why in this profit driven Western society there is such a strong resistance and refusal to supporting people in grief and tragedy. Once tragedy hits an employee they frankly become an inconvenience as companies want “robots” that function non-stop for the millions the top is gaining.

That’s why I have come to start disliking the term “workforce” as this sounds like an army, a factory of robots having to function in a modern-day slavery setting, under the pretense of “productivity” and “buzz” and “fun”.

 

Excerpts from the ACAS Guide on Bullying during Bereavement
on pages 11 & 12

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ACAS:

»Avoiding discrimination and addressing bullying

Employers should ensure their employees who are likely to be affected by the disability are able to recognise it, especially when performance or absence of a bereaved employee becomes unacceptable over the longer term for no other apparent reason.«

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This versus my experience of being targeted and penalized for not smiling during customer service even when I asked, almost begged to work in the kitchen for a while when I started to tear up on the shop floor. More on the Emotional Labour in this blog entry and the “brutality” of what Pret expects, no matter what.

 

09 Brutal Nightmare

Only one of >>> several comments on YouTube

 

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ACAS:

»Addressing Bullying

Bullying is defined as unwanted behaviour or conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual. If the bullying is related to a protected characteristic then it is harassment.

Managing bereavement in the workplace

Employers should be alert to inappropriate behaviour following bereavement. Absence through bereavement can place burdens on co-workers and line managers alike who may pressurise (inadvertently or otherwise) or bully a bereaved employee into returning to work or performing their duties to the same level as they did before the death. The intentions of the bully do not matter – what is important is the impact that the behaviour has on the employee who is being bullied.

For example:
Rouji works on a telephone helpline and recently lost her mother. On her return from bereavement leave she is finding it hard to cope at work: she is struggling to reach her targets for calls answered and sometimes leaves the room visibly upset. Brandon, the manager, notices that the staff are unhappy at what they see as “carrying Rouji”, an attitude reinforced by the vocal views of her supervisor who has been overheard saying “she should get a grip, when my mother died, I found work a relief, look at the problems she is causing us.”Rouji has noticed the shaking heads of colleagues and their “tuts” when she leaves the room and this is adding to her distress. Although Brandon recognises the burden on the team, the company has a policy of not tolerating bullying and harassment. Brandon tells the supervisor to stop this behaviour and let it be known that staff may face disciplinary action if this unwanted behaviour continues. At the same time he sees if a temporary worker can be deployed until Rouji is able to reach her performance targets.«

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The guide goes on to cover a variety of issues regarding paid leave, long-term or reoccurring effects of grief etc. I just concentrate mainly on the subject of bullying here as this involved even Pret’s HR, Head Quarters, Clive Schlee CEO as this is systemic and no surprise anymore, why I went from management to management that had no policy in place to protect me or bereaved employees in general.

A People Business Partner (PBP) from HR in a grievance appeal’s hearing that I raised even admitted that there was another employee, an assistant manager who was bereaved and also mistreated at work, but that she was “bitter”. He foolishly compared me with her as if we were bitter because we raised grievances of wrongdoing. I emailed this PBP later that day in anger saying that this AM is not bitter, but in a lot of pain, as I related to her nightmare.

A few months after this hearing and what the PBP told me in that hearing, I learned that an AM died by suicide. I cannot proof that this is the same person, but I do not believe in coincidences anymore with Pret, especially after they involved a Development Manager from HQ who supposedly also had a brother who died in his flat, like my brother died in his flat… But I don’t believe this anymore. Weeks later after our contact I learned that she is also a Hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner, and the more hidnsight I have and keep talking about this, the more I don’t believe that she had a brother, even while I see some posts on her facebook page regarding her brother in 2016 before I knew her.

I tell my story verbally for the first time on a podcast here below in the audio player. I also collected many staff reviews from outside pages like Glassdoor, Indeed, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook etc. and combined them unto one page as Pret Staff Complaints.

I am so loud because I almost lost my life and if I alsmost ended my life, an assistant manager did, how many more are there. If Pret can hide two customer deaths under the carpet, how many work-related staff suicides or attempted suicides are there?

 

“Penalized for calling out for a funeral”

2018-11-01 Funeral

Former Barista, New York

 

Avoid AM

Former Assistant Manager, London

 

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I can only urge any company, large or small to please have a look at this guide from ACAS. It is only a guide to which companies can draft their own policy from this blueprint that ACAS provides in partnership with Cruse. I survived systemic workplace bullying in a company that is very efficient in marketing and PR portraying themselves to be an ethical and caring company.

I have a different story…

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived workplace bullying that involved the top leadership and HQ. 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. Thank you for reading.

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org 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.

 

 

Abusive Hypnotherapist & NLP Practitioner At Pret

 

I received a disciplinary from a Development Manager 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.”

 

2017-09-01 Script pic

 

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.

 

Logo Late Night Girl NO grief

 

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.