The responsibility of EK HR management and Sophia Panayiotou SVP – HRBS

Am I vindictive? 

The vast majority of comments, e-mails and Facebook messages that I am getting after starting this blog are supportive, grateful and positive. Many people describe their experiences with EK to me and I have no capacity to publish all of them at the same time, but they are giving me a deeper insight in the amount of sorrow that employment in EK brings to these people.

A few comments had negative tone, accusing me of being “unprofessional”, “disrespectful” and “vindictive” towards my ex managers and Emirates Airline in total. As I have stated before: all people who want to leave a comment on any of my articles here are free to do so. Comments are automatically published, without being previously approved and I moderate and delete only racist or rude comments. Everyone has the freedom to speak loudly and anonymously without being censored. Negative comments which appear here and there are the evidence of such a policy on this blog.

Since I do question myself from time to time about my goals and motives, one comment particularly made me reconsider my motives for writing this blog. My intention was never to hurt anyone or anything. One of my first blog posts was the Open letter to HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed AlMaktoum where I have asked him to help me get my job back and to resolve big issues that EKAS has. I went to his office couple of times with my two brave colleagues and my Embassy forwarded him my e-mail. Sheikh Ahmed never answered my open letter and not only that: he deleted all of his public profiles on the internet.

This open letter had brought around 16.000 visitors to this blog. At the time blog was becoming viral, my Embassy called me to tell me that “someone from Emirates Airline” called to tell them that I can “end up in prison” for “writing against Sheikh and UAE” on my blog (which is not true, I respect HH Sheikh Ahmed, UAE and its people). Faced with this false accusations and the virality of my blog I made a decision to “escape” the country without cancelling my visa. I have notified my managers about this fact via e-mail which I have sent to them the day after the “escape”. I was always trying to be honest and clear in my communication with managers and I believe that notifying them that I will not bring my passport to someone who is threatening me with a prison was a fair thing to do. They never replied to this e-mail. As the matter of fact, they are ignoring me ever since.

From this distance of everything that has happened to me I think it’s time to ask myself: am I vindictive?

The answer is: no.

I don’t hate anyone. I am fighting for my rights and after reading all of the sad and sometimes awful EK stories sent to me, something is still keeping me to write this blog.

If I come to think about everything again (and it is certainly painful to think about the way I was terminated and treated during that process) – I am hurt, I am frustrated and I want justice. But it’s all there is. No revenge is on my (conscious) mind.

Why I asked the vice-president how much is her salary?

The first Emirates’ move after I have posted the audio record from the EKAS Open Forum was so cliché – they have removed Ms. Anoma Manuel from her DVP EKAS position. I even felt sorry for her and I have already written about the fact that exchanging managers on their positions without resolving the real problem is not a solution. Ms.Anoma is a victim of a rotten system, as much as all the employees are.

This is my last explanation why I have asked DVP about her salary since it seems to me that the audio record is enough. It was a scream of desperation – my last one after I have been previously dragged from meeting to meeting, punished with warnings and refused when I wanted to discuss the matter of my contract violations with my managers. The question was rhetorical and it aimed to remind all the present managers that their employees are suffering. I was not interested in Ms. Anoma’s salary, I was interested in mine. Only narrow minds can isolate my question from the circumstances and terminate my contract for “inappropriate behaviour”.

As we are speaking about narrow minds, while reading messages of present and ex employees I have thought about whose fault is it that EK system became so rotten over the years? Whose fault is it that almost only managers and other staff with wastas (connections) get promoted and stay in the company, while good and honest people are chased away? Whose fault is it that corporate culture and morale are on a so low level that people massively resign? Whose fault is it that talented and skilled people are neglected and treated like kleenex? Whose fault is it that employees are so unhappy, that discrimination is so much present, that superiors are so nasty towards their staff, that internal policies are so inconsistent?

What are my motives for writing this blog?

I still remember my disciplinary hearing. I fought to have an objective one, since HR management wanted me to have that meeting with two managers who were present at the Open forum. I got a signature on my termination letter from one of those managers (Rami el Samra). In every civilized company a manager who is involved in the case against you can not fire you, except in Emirates Airline.

Dnata HR manager Maria Escobar (the other manager at this hearing) obviously thought that she was a prosecutor at some sort of a lawsuit against me. She was unpleasant,confusing, sometimes aggressive in her body language and sometimes openly disdainful. For example, when I have explained her that I am an HR manager and that I am speaking about the problems in EKAS from my professional point of view, she answered that I am not an HR manager in EK but a check-in agent. Fair enough, indeed I was, but later on she didn’t miss to point out that I am not experienced HR manager like she is (this is what I have managed to understand since Ms.Escobar has a heavy Spanish accent and she is a little bit hard to understand). This tone of communication was somehow unprofessional and ridiculous for me. Is it possible that one HR manager is professionally competing with me at my official disciplinary hearing?

Later on I found out that Ms.Escobar was not the only manager who doesn’t fit my vision of a responsible and objective HR manager. When I have filed an official complaint on harassment to three managers: Ms.Sophia Panayiotou (HR manager), Ms.Masooma (HR manager responsible for national recruitment) and Mr.Adel Redha (from EKAS) – NOBODY replied! One complaint on harassment supported by evidence should be taken very seriously and it is a DUTY of every HR manager to reply on such a complaint, but EK HR management chose to fire the complainant instead. I can write a whole PhD thesis about inefficiency and indifference of HR managers in Emirates Airline (and maybe I will).

My complaint on harassment

My complaint on harassment

I have got my answer from Ms.Sophia only when I was chased away from the airport on my last day of duty and I have sent her a question about the reasons for terminating my contract. She answered that I have behaved in a inappropriate manner, that I have demanded to know the DVP’s salary and that I was insubordinate to my seniors. Instead of claiming that I am not guilty for these accusations, I have posted the audio record of the forum so you can decide for yourself whether I have “demanded” anything or whether I have been rude and aggressive in any way during my communication at the OPEN forum.

My question about the reasons for the dismissal from the service to Ms.Sophia

My question about the reasons for dismissal to Ms.Sophia

The responsibility of EK HR managers

Ms.Sophia failed to do several things which professional and responsible HR manager HAS to do:

1. She did not know about the unmotivated and desperate state of her staff at the airport (and across the whole company, seems to me) or maybe she did know about it, but that is even worse because knowing something is wrong and not doing your job is, actually, a real reason to be fired for

2. She neglected complaints on harassment at work (along with two other managers, but she has the most senior role in this matter)

3. She “explained” the reasons for terminating a contract through a letter to a person she has never bothered to meet before

4. She protected a senior manager (DVP EKAS)  without investigating the issue, without calling any witnesses and without respecting the internal manual procedures

5. By neglecting all the evidence that internal manual is violated, she violated the manual herself and, therefore, she behaved in an extremely unethical and unprofessional manner

6. Ms.Panayiotou violated my freedom of communication (guaranteed by UAE Law) by forbidding me to send e-mails to the Chairman of Emirates Airline (HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed AlMaktoum) and then by punishing me for doing so

Screenshot (92)

Ms.Sophia's answer to my question about the reasons for dismissal

Ms.Sophia’s (who never met me) answer to my question about the reasons for dismissal

In this letter you can notice that I was also punished for sending e-mail to EKAS management, politely asking for the feedback from the Open Forum. All the e-mails that I have sent to my colleagues returned to me, so I assumed that somebody restricted my access to those e-mails addresses. I asked, politely again, if my access is restricted and I sent some evidence of forced overtime to Ms.Anoma. There can be no word of my rude or unprofessional behaviour in any way. Seems that EK managers are not used to honest and open internal communication and exchange of thoughts trough an e-mail correspondence.

The injustice

If you haven’t notice so far, I will make it a little bit more clear: described injustice is haunting me. Sometimes it passes through my head like a disturbing memory, sometimes it appears like someone else’s memory in messages and e-mails. EK injustices and mistreatments towards me and other employees are following me since the very first post I have written here and I continue to write just to get rid of that bitter feeling.

Never in my life I have experienced such an evil behaviour at work of someone to whom I have trusted. I’ve trusted recruiters, I’ve trusted my trainers and I’ve trusted my managers and I was doing my job with joy (at the beginning) and with responsibility (all the time).

The most evil thing that HR managers did to me was to fire me for “inappropriate behaviour” knowing that it will look very bad in my resume and they throw me back home to find another job with this resume.

For your information, dear EK HR managers, your decisions and actions influence peoples’ careers and lives. You can’t wipe your noses with people and throw them in the garbage bin. Or you can, but don’t ask those people then why they are still writing their blogs.

Yes, I am struggling to start my life from the beginning again, with a resume that says that I am behaving in an inappropriate way at my work post. That was your revenge to me and I am living with it. My blog, on the contrary, is not a revenge, it is simply a defence from you and your evil.


23 responses to “The responsibility of EK HR management and Sophia Panayiotou SVP – HRBS

  • tankisha

    Dear Dragana,
    I belive a part of this article is directed to me as a responce for my comment.
    Just like i said before you have lost your path by writing about things not involving or related to human rights or employment agreement.. ????
    Why should i not fly emirates??I as a passenger i do not care for the internal drama that happens within the emirates house as long as you givving me a good service..
    Emirates is one of the best tward passengers regardless if you admit it or not..
    my point is if you are trying to highlight problems regarding human rights that is completly fine but you are damaging the company name by writing a false information just as baggae policy or denied boarding..It is not your consern..
    Consentrate on whats involving human rights..
    reading your article i have no daought you are super capable of handeling this matter in a more proffisonal way which as i said you started proffisional but then you lost it..
    you are highly educated but darling that is how the world is running every where on earth..not unless you are replacing “po ke mon” the head of UN you can not fix the world this way..
    get a job and become a manger and treat your employee in a better way is the best you can do…
    but my observation which could be wrong i see that you are little too much harsh on challenging managers..
    there are 2 ways to deliver your message.a good smoo
    th one and a harsh one and trust me the good way is the smooth way..
    once again i have nothing againest you i even do not know where you from or what gender are you..i just thoght you lost your path on this blog and thats why i commented earlier..
    bottom of the line no one is losing and wasting time but you..go search a job become an HR manager(which am sure you will do a great job) and show the world how to run the show..that is how we fix problems by starting with our self..
    Best of luck my friend..


    • admindragana

      We will let passengers decide whether they are satisfied or not.

      I am sorry if you don’t see the ABUSE of the staff in the article about excess baggage, I guess you are not a check-in agent.

      Read my articles carefully, I did deliver my messages in a polite way for half of a year. Nobody listened. In fact, I was “marked” and “monitored” for not obeying my contract violations and punished with warnings and meetings by DVP.

      Now I know that you are a manager in the company: only they can separate EK from its people and claim that EK is providing the best service with its exhausted and desperate staff.

      If you do not care how people who are providing you a service live and whether they are happy or not, and you care only for your ass and happiness, you are not really a good human being, are you? There are people there, a lot of them, who would stop flying if psychologically and mentally blackmailed and abused people with no real choice are providing them a service. For the sense of empathy and having feeling for others.

      Yes, I would do a better job, although I have trusted my managers that I will learn something from them. This is why I came to EK. Unfortunately, I have run into a bunch of clueless people who live in fear of losing their benefits and keep their eyes closed in front of the sufferings of their own staff.

      NO FALSE information here. Everything is just as I have described it. Passengers can check for themselves. And once they do, EK will be in a problem. On the other hand, if managers read some of the articles and comments here, maybe they will learn their mistakes and correct something in their behaviour.

      I am not trying to change the world, I am trying not to leave shity traces behind me TO this world by keeping quiet and taking care of my own ass only.


    • Anonymous

      tankisha – this blog is not only about objective writing. It’s much more… Let the author and readers decide if it’s a waste of time.


    • AnonJack

      Someone missed the point…


  • tagha1

    This could be your own point of view but, Dragana is doing a great job in showing part of the sufferings and what is happening “inside” EK….Imagine if what she is doing here was used for EK!!….Don’t you think she worth a higher yet more professional position at EK rather than Check in agent!! Although, more than 95% of EK staff if not more do agree with what she wrote in her post.

    I am not defending her or try to give excuses on what she is doing but, I can assure you that she mentioned only less than 30% of what is happening.

    You are right as some passengers do care more about the service they are getting but, you know that this “smile” is just a fake one and staff are forced to show it to the passengers!!! Just like when you decided to buy a new fur coat, you don’t care how much animals suffered to make it as all what is important to wear this new charming coat!! Try to put your self in our shoes and try to look at things from a different angle!!

    I trust that travelers would think twice after reading posts from different staff same as majority have changed their thinking of wearing fur and leather jackets, alternatives are there however, the decision is yours and no one can force you.

    I’ve been contacted by different “Human Rights” organizations in addition to many public medias and social networks same as Dragana and most of the staff here, this is going further ahead each day. We are still loyal to EK but it seems that the decision makers are not….we are asking for what is ours as in the contract and staff are asking for a total and comprehensive change to continue “giving” and living in pride.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Anonymous

    This is a good start towards educating the consumer. They vote with their wallets…in time they will vote with their conscience.

    Liked by 2 people

  • anonymous

    First not sure if you know but Sophia panatou has been FIRED over the weekend in emirates! This is very coincidental. Apparently it was for taking kickbacks from ppl to give them jobs in ek!!!!!!!

    At tanishka learn how to spell professional before giving lectures!!! You know there is something called autocorrect!!!!!!!!!!!


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  • Jane

    Can I please have email address for human resources Emirates airlines.
    I would kindly like to inform them that one of their pilots was arrested and is in London prison an bases of Federal warrant from U.S.Department of Justice.
    I have found couple email addresses but did not hear anything from anyone. I just might go public at this point.


    • Anonymous

      Knowing how EK works, getting staff to download in house designed apps to spy on staff, I am sure they already know. They will do ANYTHING immoral and dirty to cover up anything that they do. Gour public if that is what you want.


      • Jane

        If I don’t hear from them since I have sent multiple emails I will contact U.S. media to make sure that people know they have ignored the mother who was deprived of seeing her little girl for over two years by their pilot. This is a third case to my knowledge of Emirates airline pilot child abduction from the USA.


  • Anonymous

    Jane. EK don’t give a Fuck about you or your daughter. They only exist to bring money to the Dubai Government. A pilot is an asset to Emirates. They are losing pilots every day whilst trying to attract less qualified candidates. Please do yourself a favour and email one of the vicious pricks at EK. johndotalsford@Emiratesdotcom He won’t reply but then when you go to the media and show them you tried to engage you have proof. Publicise this as this is the only wait to show EK for what it is. Additionally on this blog I discovered that EK tried to this blog closed. Keep Discovering


  • Anonymous

    EK will never reply!


  • Anonymous

    Jane please update us?


    • Jane

      I sent John an email as well as help center and other offices. No response of course. My daughter and I are back in the USA safe and happy after over years of being apart. She is adapting to her life here and she is very happy to be home with mama.
      Shame that some countries such as UAE did not sign Hague convention that prevents from child kidnapping as this one. UAE being another “black hole” for criminals who are hiding there as my ex was. And the fact that they did not even reply is pretty SAD!
      Thank you for enlighting us!


  • Nan

    Dear dragana how can i contact you plz ??



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