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.«

~~~~~~~~~~

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.

 

 

Questions to Pret A Manger

 

Since Twitter is limited in the amount of words that can be used and on Facebook Pret tends to delete my comments, I’d just like to expand my questions here and just link to it.

I used to get told off and “corrected” from line managers in front of colleagues, one GM in particular would repeatedly do this, to which I kept asking to please give me feedback in person not in front of my team. This particular GM would say that he “feed-backs” me in front of the team for their benefit, so that they learn from my mistakes. Apart from this being complete nonsense, incapable management and plain wrong, I understood his bullying mentality and insecurity.

And I am sure Pret is not keen on answering my questions, certainly not directly, I’d like to take this “example” be it poor as it is, and do the same thing. For the sake of the public, so they learn from your mistakes, I’d like to ask you publicly again a few questions.

After I was bullied during bereavement in all its forms, shouted at, excluded from leader’s meetings as well as a leaders Christmas dinner (when my dad just woke from his coma and I returned to work and was put on late shifts to cover for them to have their dinner), information withheld that I needed in order to do my job, held low in jobs where I could not grow and thrive, hours cut to zero during Christmas time even though I was on a 35 hour contract needing money to visit my dad again, hours not paid that I had to chase, the patronizing approach from Clive Schlee, CEO who labelled me his “late night girl”, the lies and dodgy grievance hearings, after all this bullying under the guidance of HR and the Head of HR & Recruitment, after all this mistreatment you tasked one of your Development Managers to sanction me supposedly because of my emailing, for which your CEO labelled me his “late night girl” two months before you dismissed me.

Your Development Manager, who also is a Hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner (as several of your leaders are) and in 2017 studied to become a Psychotherapist, was put on my case because she had a brother who died in his flat and was not discovered after days later, just like my brother died and was in his flat for days before his corpse was found.

She was put into contact with me, not so we could support each other in our common grief, but so that I would be able to receive the disciplinary as I would be more receptive since we have the same loss. This which I already put forward to your Director of HR, I called “perversion” for lack of a better word. I had to learn later that this was gaslight in its most primitive form.

Your Development Manger, who is governed under this therapy body, then entered into personal communication with me right from the next day onward which was secret, even though you all knew about it of course. This confused me further. Not only did she enter into unallowed contact, but she solely communicated with me via text messages and email, for which she sanctioned me in the first place!

Fasting forward a few months, I of course got dismissed (with my dad in intensive care just out of a coma) while she is safe in her job as she served HR well. She even at times sounded like the Head of HR, saying things only the Head of HR knew and vice versa.

Now my question is, as I am not sure anymore what to believe because there were so many lies from you from the top down, did she really have a brother who died very similar to how my brother died and the delay in her learning about his passing, like in my case as well?

If she did have a brother and all she told me about him and the situation, why did you step on her dignity by using her against me, instead of for me and her being able to have open, not in secret, support in our grief. Her brother (supposedly) died 2 months before my brother died, in his flat, alone, for days undiscovered… like a twin story. And yet your core value of “doing the right thing naturally” … NATURALLY … I still have to let that word melt on my tongue… is such a disgrace and arrogance I have rarely come across.

If she did not have a brother and made up this story to really fuel the gaslight, than she is a bad person.

But if she did have a brother and everything she told me was like it was, than she is even worse than a bad person, because she should and could have declined the task of sanctioning me to protect her as well as my dignity.

I certainly would have declined and offered instead to be available for support and open contact with respect and integrity.

What this also particularly bad is how manipulative she was. Right from the start of our secret contact she wanted to meet me to interview me for an assignment she was writing for university as she was studying to be a Psychotherapist. She was writing an essay on anger and wanted my input as I was very angry with everything surrounding my brother’s death and being bullied on top of it.

I declined being interviewed as I didn’t know her, no matter how similar our losses were, but I also didn’t want to feel like a guinea pig for someone’s projects and from the get go I was confused about her role. A friend even warned me that Pret may be using her to “spy” on me to see how best to fire me. But I was so blinded from grief and all that happened at work that I fell for this trap that sounded too good to be true that someone with such an identical loss could be even in the same company.

She later declined showing me her essay as I was interested what her take on anger was. Her reasons for not showing it to me was supposedly because she wanted to protect the volunteers who participated in the interviews. And yet, an essay or book is usually written with changed names and even if the first names were real, I wouldn’t know anyone anyway. So, from all the lies and manipulations I reckon she used my story anyway against my permission.

My aim since May 2015, when I approached HR informally to make suggestions on how to support bereaved staff not only put a target on my back. I would enter further and further into troubled waters from superiors in the years to come, but Pret’s non-existent bereavement support program involves using one bereaved employee against another in the most disgraceful way! Perhaps they bribed the Development Manager either with immunity if any future disciplinary against her would come up, or she got that promotion she had an eye on for some time, as she worked in Pret’s HQ since over 15 years. She certainly got the personal protection from the Head of HR who would manipulate and tweak my situation on several occasions, leaving me like a lamb up for slaughter under incapable management. Only she knows why she not only allowed HR to use her, and even went further to take advantage of my story in her university studies.

 

And that is what makes Pret, Pret:

 

 

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

 

… and HR takes this to even more lofty heights:

 

 

Right Thing Naturally

 

PR, slogans, lies, dishonesty, tricks and traps, disrespect of dignity, lack of integrity behind a facade…

So, those are my questions regarding the Development Manager, did she really have a brother whose story in death was so similar to my brother’s, and if so why did you step on her and my dignity as well as her allowing this.

As you know you got away with it from reaching court as I cannot deal with this mentally without a lawyer and having buried my dad in March. I finally completely broke down. But I can write and ask and expose and share…

 

The other question that keeps burning in my heart which I already addressed you while working in Pret, was the incident one of your People Business Partners told me in an appeals hearing where I raised a grievance against another PBP, which of course was a waste of time, but at least I gave it my best. The PBP in the hearing told me about an assistant manager who was bereaved and mistreated on top of this at work and raised grievances, just like I was. He had the audacity to not only compare me with her, but judging her as well as me to be bitter, because we raised grievances.

I later emailed him as I was speechless in the hearing when he told me this, and wrote that she is not bitter, but in a lot of pain as I could relate to that. I deeply regret not having tried to get in contact with her to support her. But you know, Pret, I was so traumatized, not ready to give any help or assistance to anyone, I was so lost myself, whereas you have all the money, resource and manpower including your Development Manager who is a therapist… I had no strength nor mental capacity to help.

And my question again that I raised before, is this AM the same AM who a few months later ended her life in suicide?

 

 

2018-09-16 Re Emily to Pret

 

 

2018-09-30 My Tweet on death suicide

 

 

Dear Pret, you take former homeless staff hiking, at times your CEO is taking them to his home in Austria and this serves your PR very well as one of your former IT Analyst’s reviewed your Head Office. And yet you put people on the streets through unfair dismissals. I certainly also could have ended up on the streets and was on my way downhill. You drive hardworking staff to suicidal thoughts maybe even successfully, you bully them during bereavement and then try to get rid of them with all kinds of tricks and traps under the umbrella of “doing the right thing… naturally”.

My public outcry, no matter how creative I write to try to heal, my ordeal with your company remains traumatic and it will never go away, no matter what you try next. And having a former team leader colleague of mine whom I used to highly respect and work well together, for him to call and then text me a few weeks ago, after not having heard from him for three years doesn’t work. He lied during an investigation in favour of a line manager who bullied me. He never expected that I’d read his lies later on after I applied for my file. I immediately told him to not contact me again. Your trick-box should have been exhausted by now.

I know you are collecting and waiting for me to do the “right” wrong thing for you to take action and certainly keep my public outcry should this reach court, and I wholeheartedly tell you that I neither care nor am afraid of you. Your systemic disregard for decent and hardworking people with integrity, your lack of compassion for people who give their sweat, blood and tears so that you can count your millions, your PR that gotten more cracks in its facade after your appalling dealings with two deaths becoming public… your carelessness will not be hidden forever, no matter how many hikes you take and use former homeless people for PR and step on even their dignity.

These questions remain, and the truth will always come to light… how many more have died, be it customers from allergen reactions or staff by suicide, some even after having left Pret so that no connections can be made. And how many more keep suffering, slide into depression and suicidal thoughts, as the true staff reviews reveal on the same lines of mistreatment again and again?

The truth will always come out, no matter how long it takes.

Kind regards,

Clive Schlee’s Late Night Girl

 

 

 

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 – 2018 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org 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.