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!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

One-Off Pay-Off? **** Off!

I’m sure many will agree when I say there is something particularly sinister about workplace bullies who pretend they’re bullying you for your own good.

Howard was a master of this. This was the boss, after all, who once explained in an email that his calling me a lesbian was not meant to cause offence, but was “more constructive criticism”.

So I find it particularly shocking that the most recent Government employment law reform proposal adopts the same technique.

Ministers are suggesting a reform to enable bosses to sack staff with an instant one-off pay-off as part of their Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. If the money is accepted then employees lose any right to bring an unfair dismissal claim in the Employment Tribunal. This sounds suspiciously like asking staff to sign their legal rights away at a time when they’re going to be most worried about money. Bad enough. But here’s the worst bit:

It’s all packaged up as a reform designed to allow employees to leave a firm with dignity.

Yes. Apparently such an exit package allows that when an employee is sacked, handed their P45, a confidentiality clause, a cheque (comprising probably one month’s wages) and a legal disclaimer saying they’ve signed their rights away to bring legal action at Tribunal, they will feel pretty good about themselves. They’ll be able to hold their heads high, knowing they’ve struck a bit of a savvy bargain. 

Who needs lawyers or legal rights when you're making stressful, spur of the moment life changing decisions?

And what if an employee’s sacking is the end result of a campaign of bullying? We know how often this happens. Can you imagine how bullied employees will feel being offered this one-off pay-off from the people supposedly protecting them from bullying at work?

The Government is really just proposing a generic, employer-led Compromise Agreement. It’s just one more hurdle between you and justice if you find yourself out on the scrap-heap.

And the fact that they’re telling us it’s all for our own good? It makes me angry. Like I said, I’ve heard it all before. I’m not usually one for swearing but:

One-off pay-off? **** Off!

So much for inspiring dignity!

Very best


Anonymous said...

Oh so very true!! As if things weren't bad enough... ie Workplace psychological manipulation/bullying being used as a surreptitious management tool (& also being very hard to prove without negative effects for the victim)... now the government gives employers a big sledge-hammer to 'finish the job!'

Gladys Happybutt said...

What I am wondering has bullying always been a management style and practices like this just relieving any possible guilt residue while providing financial protection for the perpetrator. Why did we not address bullying as a management style in my management classes in college; because, it appears to be the style of choice since sometime in the 1990. Until we stop adult bullying and manipulation we will never successfully address this horrific behavior in children. This is not a natural occurring relationship building behavior and bullying is something that children learn by observation and in order to appear grown up imitate. I for one believe it is not only offensive to watch, participate in as perpetrator or victim but is what build Evil.

Bullied By The Boss said...

Thanks heaps for your comments.

Yes! The "it's for your own good and improvement" makes working life impossible for targets who are portrayed as stubborn if they don't change and easily manipulated if they do.

I hear what you say, Gladys, about bullying not being classified as an accepted management style - when it clearly is. I've also written before about it not being covered on some employment law courses - which is just bizarre!

I agree with you re: child/adult bullying. If we excuse bullying in one area, such as work, we inadvertently excuse it elsewhere, such as the school yard.

Natalie Minnis said...

Do the terms for accepting this one-off payment include getting a good reference? When I was bullied at work my boss tried to undermine my professional reputation. Thankfully she failed and in the end resorted to giving me redundancy so I was able to leave with my professional reputation intact. A good professional reputation is important if people want to move on to other jobs.

W. Lotus said...

This is EXACTLY what American employers do. It was done to me years ago.

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