So then...

About Me

Welcome to my blog. My pen name is Eva James. I'm an aspiring writer paying the bills working as a legal secretary. Bullied by my boss in 2008, I looked for another job but the recession hit. Feeling trapped, I started this blog. Trevor Griffiths, legendary theatre, TV and film writer said at the outset, "I like the writing a lot: smart, cool, placed. If you were prepared/able to take your prick of a boss on, you'd marmelise him." I was unaware back then that it would catalogue one of the most extreme cases of workplace bullying in the UK. I've found another job, but am subject to a gagging order. I'm still blogging, of course. Just don't tell the lawyers!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

I Quit

I’m in shock.

There had been whispers for months, but no-one believed it would happen. Yesterday it did. The Office Manager handed out our contracts of employment. I stared at my skinny envelope in surprise.

There was no mention of the legal assistant/paralegal work I was doing. The Contract confirmed I was a legal secretary again. It was a lower wage than Howard had stated.

I went cold.

I felt sick to the pit of my stomach.

There had to be some mistake.

I didn’t have time to ask Howard because we were called into a department meeting. I tried to concentrate on what Philip was saying about aggressive marketing. When he spoke of an advert in The Law Gazette I assumed this was another aspect of raising our profile. However, when he unfolded the proposed advert and slid it towards Howard I realised I was wrong.

It was an advert for the job I'd been doing up - until that morning.

Once the meeting was over I asked to speak to Howard about the advert. Amused, he told me I was getting above myself if I thought I’d ever make a fee earner. Later, I found out that he'd told colleagues I wasn't capable of progressing.

Last night I wrote out my resignation and gave it to the head of personnel this morning who asked me to wait until he took some painkillers for his hangover. I left immediately. I walked aimlessly - ending up at a local river. I froze after sitting on a bench too long as my mobile phone filled up with voicemail messages from the Office Manager and Howard. They sounded worried I would kill myself or something.

A couple of hours later, I headed for a temp agency, telling them I needed work. The manager asked me what happened, but I couldn't speak so I handed her a copy of my resignation letter. She took it from me but halfway through said, “I can’t read anymore.” She picked up the phone and called a local law firm.

“I’m sending her over to you now,” she said. “This is the worst case of bullying and harassment I’ve ever seen.”

I was told to go straight to the solicitors and then come back. She promised she’d find me another job.

“I’ve been an Employment Solicitor for a long time” the solicitor said. “But this is the worst case of bulling and harassment I’ve seen in my life. It’s incredible that it’s happening in a law firm. The crucial thing is, of course, can you prove it?”

“Every word,” I said. “I can prove every word.”

When I returned this afternoon with my folders of evidence, his jaw hit the floor.

I would have made a great paralegal if I’d had the chance.

Eva x

1 comment:

Fiona WordsBird said...

At last. Eva, I'm sending the biggest, longest, most heartfelt hug you've ever had. Well done!

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