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, 14 July 2012

The Golden Age

The Golden Age of Workplace Fairness is over.

What Golden Age?

Trust me. We’ve had it and it’s gone. This weekend I’m gazing over years past with nostalgia. How could I have created something like my Bullied by the Boss blog in the good old days? How ungrateful was I?

We'd never had it so peachy. Sure, mine was a terrible tale of workplace bullying followed by a sorry struggle of trying and failing to access any kind of real justice – but who knew? Who knew that was the best it was ever going to get?

Recently, we’ve seen reform after reform subverting our employment rights. The latest is the final nail in the coffin. Yesterday, the Ministry of Justice sent out a press release. Next summer, fees will be introduced for the first time at the Employment Tribunal. The fees are in three levels, but bullying/harassment related claims will fall under level 2 or 3, meaning it will cost an employee at least £1,200 in Court fees to take their case to final hearing.

That’s IN ADDITION to whatever your lawyer is charging.

So there it is. I’m suddenly sad and sentimental for the one year period before entitlement to full employment rights and free access to the Employment Tribunal. How warm and liberal it all seems. Perhaps I should have written a blog called ‘Bullied in the Golden Age of Workplace Fairness’.

Which is funny because fair was the last thing it felt. God alone knows what it’s going to feel like now.

Very best

Saturday, 7 July 2012

A Different View

Since booking a heavenly mini-break to Paris last Wednesday, my mind has been on everything French. The last thing I expected, of course, was that my love of Paris and my antipathy towards workplace bullying would meet head on. But the following day, The Guardian again highlighted the much publicised spate of worker suicides in France.

At the heart of the story is the formal investigation into Didier Lombard, former chief executive of France Telecom, where 35 staff took their own lives in 2008 and 2009. And it’s not confined to France Telecom. Peugeot, EDF and Renault share their own clusters of stress induced staff suicide.

Bill Stewart, Business Professor at the American University of Paris, said on France 24 News that due to the economic crisis some companies have realised there’s another option other than paying staff the redundancy they deserve. Some firms instead are choosing to submit their workforce to intense psychological pressure; bullying and belittling them, moving them around and/or forcing constant change on employees. Staff are deliberately harassed in the hope they’ll quit. Mr Stewart quoted some black office humour with regard to the way some French firms are treating their workers:

“These days they don’t show you the door. They show you a window”.

Back in Britain, Unite also recently linked a steep rise in suicides with the imposition of austerity cuts and warned that the government’s austerity measures put workers at increased risk. For example, they note a 40% increase in suicide rates in Greece and raise concerns that the same upward trend might be noted here.

If it’s down to the austerity, then maybe there’s a ray of hope for French workers in Socialist President François Hollande. I’m reminded of his election assertion on May 6th, “Austerity can no longer be inevitable!”

We’ll soon see if François Hollande’s claim that austerity is not inevitable has any correlation with worker suicides not being inevitable. I’ve faith that Monsieur Hollande will show the world a different view from a very different window.

Very best
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