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, 23 June 2010

Money Talks

They’re sending the money tomorrow.

It’s so quick my head’s spinning. My solicitor will hold it for me for a couple of weeks, but Howard and his pals are desperate to pay me off. They can’t get the money to me fast enough.

I can’t make sense of it. I never wanted money. I just wanted Howard to sort himself out and stop humiliating me. Why would they rather send over a wad of cash than apologise?

Truth is, I don’t know what to do with the settlement. What’s eating me up isn’t just the fact that I still wish I’d found a way to Tribunal, I’m also really scared. This is my big chance to change my life and I don’t know where to start. It’s a pressure I never saw coming. I have to make a decision about the direction for a new start.

The money is nagging me to make a decision. It won’t shut up.

What I really want it to say is 'sorry'.

See you soon

Eva x

Thursday, 17 June 2010

White Knight

Anyone reading my tweets will know I almost went AWOL this morning. I was going to go somewhere, anywhere. I couldn’t face work. I couldn’t face signing the Compromise Agreement. I couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t know where I was going, but I couldn’t have cared less. I was going to ditch it and run. That kind of panic is a place that I never want to revisit.

I forced myself through it. I made it into work and later to the meeting, where I started crying when we started reading the Compromise Agreement.

It dawned on me, as we read on, what my solicitor’s role was. I’d expected my solicitor to come to my rescue. I expected him to rail against the bullies. I expected him to defend me and to fight the other side. I expected him to make them pay and bring justice.

This is not what solicitors do.

You expect a white knight - you get a white flag.

Originally, for ambiguous reasons, Howard had launched an attack. It led to a two year war. His motives no longer matter. It simply had to end. This is a solicitor’s job. He/she stands between two feuding parties and tries to force peace/compromise/negotiation. They aim to get the best for their clients in the shortest possible time and, yes, they hope to earn lots of money.

My solicitor said he’s failed his client if a case gets to Tribunal. He should stop the war – period.

I’m stumbling out of my trench and wondering what’s become of my world.

I’ll keep you posted.

Eva x

Monday, 14 June 2010

Swimming with Sharks

Howard once drew a picture of me naked being menaced by a mighty shark. He said the shark represented male lawyers. He wrote the caption above it, “Help, help, I’m a vulnerable person.” Then he tore it up and threw it in the bin.

It sounds like nothing, but that was the first time I phoned the Samaritans. That was when it really felt less like bullying and more like mental torture. I don’t know why it bothered me so much, but there was something about it, something that spoke to me on a subconscious level perhaps. I don't know.

Or at least I didn’t until today. I didn’t until I was crying on the phone to my solicitor. He wasn’t sympathetic. He said people like me who don’t have the money to pay up front don’t get to call the shots. He said I can’t have it all ways. He said either way they’ll humiliate me and lie about me until it’s over so I can settle quickly or drag it out and waste more money.

He just wants his cut of the CFA. 

I wonder if Howard's picture was a premonition.

It feels as though I'm surrounded by sharks - being torn to pieces.

How does anyone survive this?

Eva x

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Nuclear style

Last Friday, my solicitor gathered all the documents Howard swore didn’t exist.

They were the documents Howard assured Senior Management I was making up. He said the documents had to be an “elaboration,” a work of fiction from a deranged, lonely individual who couldn't tell fact from fiction.

When my solicitor scanned them all and e-mailed them to Howard and friends they all went into meltdown. Nuclear style.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I was stewing in depression, completely oblivious that a couple of miles away Howard and Senior Management were imploding. I don't know why my solicitor didn't tell me what he was about to do, but this is what happened:-

1.They issued an immediate Temporary Reporting Order to stop me talking to the press and followed it with an application for Permanent Reporting Order.

2.They threw a settlement offer on the table in the financial bracket that would be awarded at Tribunal for serious sexual harassment and discrimination.

3.Howard was told he would have to pay the lion’s share of the settlement himself out of his own pocket.

4.They agreed, without argument, I can write anonymously about workplace bullying and harassment and draw upon my personal experiences to do so.

It’s over, bar the signature on the Compromise Agreement.

I know it’s no Hollywood ending. I didn’t get to turn up to Court looking amazing. My barrister didn’t humiliate Howard and force him to admit he did wrong. My old firm didn’t promise to treat their staff better.

However, maybe I've taught them a little lesson.

Don't underestimate writers!

See you soon,

Eva x

Saturday, 5 June 2010


I owe you an apology. I was misguided. I thought I could change things through creativity and understanding; that truth would triumph and good would win in the end. And even as I write that, it sounds hopelessly naive. I genuinely thought I might make a difference.

My solicitor, who hasn’t known me for long, has called me an idealist twice, both occasions saying it like it was a dirty word.

And I’m afraid, when I got drawn into putting up a fight, I may have dragged you along in my delusion that David could beat Goliath.

This is real life. David’s been marmalised. Goliath leaves the messy scene intact with an only an annoying headache and slightly less cash in his pocket.

It’s over for me in terms of fighting Howard and his friends. I’m outnumbered and out-financed. The only thing that remains is that if they won’t agree to remove the confidentiality clause – I will have to ditch my solicitor and represent myself to Tribunal. It’s my worst nightmare, but I’m in this process and it’s too late to back out.

Truth is, I think I may have got it wrong. Fighting for my cause changed nothing.

I’m not saying don’t fight...I’m just saying eventually you will have to chalk it up to experience and move on.

There has to be a better way to resolve these things. In the meantime, I’ll be here for you, like you’ve been here for me. If bullies are going to win as a rule, we need to support each other. As long as we’re trying to make a difference - maybe we’ll get there.

See you next week. Take care of yourselves and thanks again.

Eva x

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Impossible Causes

I saw my solicitor today. I was determined to fight on until he threw me a question which I’d never considered.

Do I have any savings to pay a barrister?

Due to the volume of evidence my solicitor said I will now probably have to pay a barrister up front. “Few barristers,” he said, “will read all these documents and lead a 6 day trial on a Conditional Fee Agreement.”

Also, Howard and friends have panicked and employed a top London barrister so we can’t hire just anyone. He said, knowing their barrister, my chances of winning have fallen from 100% to 75%.

Who on earth have they got? Kavanagh QC?

If anyone knows any brilliant barristers who would accept this case on CFA please let me know. They can read about it first-hand here and decide.

I need a miracle.

I’m praying to St Jude.

I'll keep you posted...

Eva x
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