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Tag Archives: Workplace harassment

Emirates flight attendant was asked for sex in exchange for better roster?

This is the e-mail I’ve got yesterday from one Emirates cabin crew. Apparently, the Crew Scheduling Department staff asked female crew for sex favors in exchange for better roster.

I haven’t noticed anybody mentioned The Crew Scheduling Department.

They are the ones that never come forward to help us, they change our flights as they like it (of course the reason is always “operational requirements”), they call us on our days off to work, blackmailing us, etc.(once I contacted them because they took away my rest day and gave me Bangalore. After I complained to them that it’s not legal,  they said : “OK,  ok, but just do the flight and we will give you off for your birthday.” How on earth did they come up with that idea? Keep descovering.
However, I want to write about one special story with the “ethical” member of the Crew Scheduling Department : Jose.
I came back late at the night after 4 hours delayed Glasgow (due to the snow) and I was supposed to show up for my early morning Bombay flight. I wasnt legal to operate Bom due to the long delay. I have phoned the crew scheduling as soon as I landed that night. (While in the crew bus) A guy (Indian by the accent) told me that they cannot do anything. I said I would have less than the minimum rest, I was dead tired and exhausted but too scared to call sick as I didn’t want any warning letter. They didn’t care.
Soon after I received a call from a mobile number that was unknown to me. I was wandering who that was because it was late at night … I heard an Indian on the other side, and he was asking me if I called to change my flight. After I confirmed he said let’s talk a bit and we will see. Talk about what ??? He was asking me if I have a boyfriend, where I live  and other personal things. I thought it was a joke up to the point when he told me to look at my roster on the portal. My Bom disappeared and another indian flight appeared! I was in shock! He said: “I gave you that flight because u will be back at the same time when I finish my duty.” And he asked if my flatmate will be at home. I was shocked ! However I stayed calm as I realized he is really in power, it was not a joke. I started telling him about my delayed flight, how exhausted I was, etc. He told me to have a look again at my roster. And he schanged it again but this time into Doha flight. He said it’s short flight and I will be rested so we can have fun after I comeback and he finishes his duty. (!!!) I continued with the same story about not being able to operate even the short flight as I need proper rest, etc.
He finally replied: “If I change it to off, what do I get …?”  !!!!
I tried to be diplomatic telling him how much I appreciate his help and he is a good person, etc. My roster has changed for the third time and this time it was REST. Which meant basically I don’t have any duty for the next day ……
(We were still on the phone and my roster has changed in front of my eyes 3 times ! )
We closed that phone conversation due to his interruption at work but he said he will be calling me back tomorrow. And he warned me not to give his phone number to anyone or to ask him about his name. I agreed.
The next few days he kept on calling, giving me the information about his department and how the things are bad there, about the shifts, about that he can help me only if I need to change the flight when the flight is during his shift, etc.
He kept insisting to meet up, so I agreed to meet him but at EGHQ. He told me to come to his department’s floor and to wait for him at the small kitchen there. The kitchen was opened for people as they would enter to get a coffee etc. So I felt safe while siting there. He showed up. Short and chobby Indian looking very professional. He was nervous to sit down and was moving around offering me coffee etc. Every time that someone would walk in, he would get even more nervous.  On the other side, I was very calm, I talked to him in a professional manner explaining that we are here to help each other between departments, it happened that he helped me, tomorrow he may need my help, etc.
I managed to read his name Jose that was written on his ID which was placed on his belt.
After short time I left, thanking him again.
He continued calling me on the phone like crazy afterwards! He was telling me I was beautiful and that he wants to sleep with me! He was saying it openly. I told him that if he continues bothering me, I will report him. Then he stopped.
Soon after, I was having a conversation with my manager Amelita Benett (Filippina) for other matter, however I still mentioned to her about Jose from Crew Scheduling department and everything that has happened. She seemed not interested, was telling me she has another meeting and that she cannot do anything about it. She didn’t care. Maybe she didn’t want extra work, but isn’t her role supposed to be caring about her crew ? She was a very unhelpful manager, but that will be my separate post.
This post is about a big shame of a man from the Crew Scheduling Department.
I still have his mobile number, so if anybody from EK management is interested in having it, they can get it through u, Dragana.
I doubt it. Because nobody wants to listen in EK. Nevertheless, I am very grateful for this blog and the chance to speak out as the truth must reach out the people. It shouldn’t be hidden.
Second e-mail:
I felt so relaxed after I sent you the email with my story because I know that it will reach out to people and that many ek high profile people will read it and hopefully take some actions … at least start monitoring that guy.

I also hope other girls will come forward and tell their stories because I am sure I am not the first one he tried to sleep with, nor the last one !

Thank you for giving to me and to other people a chance to speak out !
E-mail from a cabin crew who was asked for sex

E-mail from a cabin crew who was asked for sex

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Cabin crew’s job satisfaction in Emirates Airline – survey results

It has been two and a half months since Head of HR department, very much respected Mr.Abdulaziz Al Ali, sent an e-mail thanking employees for participating in the company’s survey on job satisfaction and promised to share results. This survey was conducted soon after this blog started with its first post – Open letter to His Highness the Chairman of Emirates Airline (EK). And whilst three vice-presidents of Human Resources department were thanked for the service in EK and escorted out, they never sent a goodbye email, so we don’t know the reasons why their services were terminated. There is an assumption that they were fired for the devastating survey results. Despite the promise of sharing these results, employees didn’t get to find out what is happening in their own company so far. So, due to the lack of company’s survey results, this article will offer some poll results from independent third parties, conducted among EK cabin crew.

EK Employees asking for survey results on PPRuNE.org forum

EK Employees asking for survey results on PPRuNE.org forum

Since there is a lack of communication between managers and employees, staff has no other way to find out about happenings in their own company than to use Internet websites such as, besides this blog, Emirates Illuminati (blocked in UAE), PPRuNE.org and few more.

Just in past 5 days 80,165 people came to this blog in search for the information on working conditions in EK: Some of these websites are used as a source of information on employees’ job satisfaction by third parties. I will not reveal my sources (it is enough to say that I can defend myself in the court of law with evidence if sued for publishing this data), but I am presenting some of the results of one such survey conducted on a representative sample of EK cabin crew.

Results of this research are not surprising for those who are working or who worked in Emirates Airline. So, what is the real state of the employees’ and customers’ satisfaction in Emirates Airline?

Mr. Abdulaziz's promise to share survey results

Mr. Abdulaziz’s promise to share survey results

The most vulnerable groups of employees in Emirates Airline are ground staff in Airport Services – check in and boarding agents and cabin crew, while pilot‘s dissatisfaction is in constant growth.

The biggest problem of EK in these departments is huge staff turnover. And while managers will always say that this turnover rate is “expected” in big companies, they don’t have an answer for how to deal with it. Their only solution is to pressurize already exhausted staff to work over their physical and mental capacities and law limitations, which is especially dangerous in the Airline Industry. Another threat to the airline safety is lack of experienced staff, which is, again, another consequence of huge staff turnover.

Emirates Airline recruits thousands of very young people to ground staff and cabin crew positions every year to replace employees who massively resign. These people can not be trained fast enough to meet all the criteria for safe flying. And while they have the physical appearance and smile necessary for customer service delivery (at least in the first couple of months of a honeymoon period within the company) their life and work experience is insufficient for more serious tasks in airline safety. And when they reach the satisfactory level of this experience, they are fed up with injustice and pressure inside the company and they resign.

Capture

I am not inclined to believe that disposable staff policy is an unofficial policy in EK because nobody is that unreasonable to cut the branch they are sitting on. Or are they?

Company, also, makes huge and unfair differences between ground staff and cabin crew. Ground staff (doing the same customer service job) are discriminated on every possible level compared to cabin crew, who have much better accommodation, salaries, medical care and benefits. Knowing this it is just a devastating fact that cabin crew resign in such huge number. It means that someone is not doing their job while getting huge salary for it. How bad is that for business?

According to mentioned research, the biggest dissatisfaction of cabin crew lies (not surprisingly!) in the way their managers treat them, while they are reasonably satisfied with their benefits, accommodation and salary. But when it comes to communication, superior – staff relations and personal contact between managers and crew, survey results are disappointing and poor.

This particular research was conducted on a representative sample of cabin crew using scientifically recognized statistical methods and tests. There were difficulties during the conduct of the survey as many employees are afraid that expression of their opinion on company will lead to the punishment or termination of their service.

80,165 visitors in 5 days

80,165 visitors in 5 days

These are some of the survey results:

A Cabin crew’s satisfaction with benefits and working conditions:

  • 68,12% of examinees are generally satisfied with the job of cabin crew in Emirates Airline. This is a solid result in Emirates Airline’s favour, although company should not underestimate dissatisfied percentage of crew.
  • Only 37,68% of examinees find working conditions on board satisfactory, while the majority – 62,32% find the them unsatisfactory or remained neutral.
  • 73,92% of cabin crew are satisfied with benefits (salary, accommodation, transport…). This is also a good result. It would be interesting to compare this number to the number of people satisfied with benefits but working in ground staff. I predict immense difference.
  • 69,57% of examinees are not satisfied or remained neutral in answering the question about their rostering and flight time limitations. This result proves that cabin crew are pushed to their limits and overworked.

B Crew’s satisfaction with management style, communication and working atmosphere:

  • This result is alarming56,52% of cabin crew find that their work is not acknowledged by the company. 27,54% of examinees remained neutral.
  • 66,67% of examinees are not satisfied or they remained neutral when asked about their satisfaction about the way the company communicates information to them.
  • 49,27% of cabin crew doesn’t feel that their company (managers) support them. 28,99% remained neutral, which makes the total number of 78,26% of cabin crew who are not satisfied or don’t know how to feel about the support they are getting from their superiors or they don’t want to tell. Very worrying number which demands immediate attention.
  • Another terrible result is acquired in answering the question whether employees feel that they can voice their opinion without the fear of being punished for it. Disastrous 71,01% answered that they feel afraid to express their opinion on work while 14,49% remained neutral.
  • Another destructive result: 66,66% of cabin crew feel maltreated by the company. 23,19% remained neutral.

C Cabin crew’s engagement in achieving company’s goals:

  • 81,16% are interested in the company’s affairs.
  • 85,51% of cabin crew are proud to work for the company (good result) and 72,45% would help the company to reach its goal of being among the most successful companies in the world (also very good result).

What can we learn from these results?

We can learn that cabin crew are fairly satisfied with their working benefits (salary, accommodation, medical care, face cards…). They feel pretty proud of working for such a big and known company. Most of them would help and are helping Emirates Airline to achieve its goals and vision. Most of them do care about the company’s image and are interested in internal happenings. So, what is the problem then?

Maybe this commenter described it in the best way:

Although my story in general was not sad, between 2006 and 2008 I witnessed many changes within EK, mainly the beginning of the “report” system, the increased workload, the switch from a personalized to a staff number relations and many more. I witnessed the jump to the new HQ, which contributed to the massive growth of overexcited managerial staff. All of them trying to prove themselves came with ideas, some were pure demonstration people’s servility with no positive benefits. I witnessed many of the qualified staff go, because they were fed up with the all growing number of restrictions, penalties, insane rosters, and last but not least the spreading fear. Many of these people were seniors who used to protect their staff. Eventually in 2008 I handed my resignation as well.

The comment about EK's decline

The comment about EK’s decline

Majority of cabin crew are not satisfied with their working conditions when it comes to the way management and superiors are treating them. The percentage of dissatisfied people is alarming and it is the reason why so many crew resign, despite their relative satisfaction with working benefits. This fact just proves the catastrophic state of human resources in Emirates Airline and rotten, bossy and authoritative organisational culture imposed by incompetent managers.

Rule of fear is evident and proved in the percentage of the crew who are afraid to express their opinion (around 70%!).

Majority of the crew doesn’t feel appreciated or supported by their managers, who are not capable to deal with the growth of the company and lack of staff in any other way than to exploit and overwork their crew, while not even appreciate or respect their efforts and hard work.

Even if nobody in Emirates Airline cares about humanity, they should understand that humanity and successful business are in direct relation. In Emirates Airline’s case it turned out that having so many disgruntled former employees willing to publicly provide their opinion on their ex employer was not a good idea. And it seems that it’s better that your employees do not leave the company hurt, angry and humiliated, because they are part of your image as well.

You should care about your staff. Even if they are staying in the company for just a couple of years and leave. Even if they are just in transit. Why? Because your customers’ dissatisfaction with demotivated crew attitude is growing in recent years. Just in EK business class negative feedback about your cabin crew makes 40% of all complaints. Because demotivated crew lead to lousy customer service and that leads to customers flying with another airlines. Because demotivated staff are not ready to go that extra mile that you need desperately to beat your strong competition. And unfortunately, a small piece of chocolate given during the forced training, which is Ms.Anoma Manuel’s idea of motivating her staff, will not work.

40% of complaints is a negative feedback

40% of complaints is a negative feedback

If you read this blog devoided of anger towards its author, you may be able to comprehend the extent of the human resources disaster in your company and to start with damage control and introducing some sustainable policies in order for your business to survive challenging airline industry conditions.

I will not write all of my ideas on how to improve your business, as it is an expensive knowledge and I worked hard to gain it. I trust you have enough money to employ some competent people to help you resolve the issues. And to help you even more, I hope that I will soon have survey results for the Airport Services ground staff, where are I expect a real tragedy.

Bottom line and the most important question for managers is: if your employees care for you and company’s image, how is it possible that you don’t care about them?

Emirates Airline was a nice place to be not so long ago. Even I feel proud for being a part of EK at some point of my life and was careful about its image while I was working there. But managers didn’t seem to understand the importance of respecting their loyal staff and dialogue, so in the same way they usually “push” people to resign, they pushed me in making this blog by forcing me to escape the country and by not paying me my EOSB.

 

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Resignation of one cabin crew

When I read this letter I felt really proud of this girl. Integrity is a rare characteristic in this world of greedy and senseless people.

Never let anyone convince you that you are not worthy enough. 

Cabin crew's e-mail with attached story in word file

Cabin crew’s e-mail with attached story in word file

Cabin crew's second email.

Cabin crew’s second email.

Emirates:

I was first called into the “Office” of my Manager after an incident occurred on board one of my flights. I say “Office” because the joke was, he didn’t actually have one. I found myself on several occasions having meetings with him either in Costa Coffee in EGHQ or in the Crew Standby Lounge. So much for privacy. Not to mention on one occasion, I was actually called in to see him by my staff number. (Yes, I was called by my staff number, not my name.)

My manager, Ram Murphy, had a reputation for disliking all his female crew and having an amazingly positive relationship with all his male crew.

Ram liked to show off and give the impression that he knew what was going on and that he had everything under control. Truth was, he knew very little and was lazy and incompetent. He made it look like he was caring and understanding of your needs by smiling, over gesturing and speaking a lot but saying nothing at all, when, in reality, he couldn’t care less about how you were spoken to on board by a senior or how hard you were trying to be “Star of the Month.” (Nujum) Many times he would randomly start speaking about Etihad and Qatar, how they were our competition (as if I didn’t know) and he always told me to keep “wowing” passengers with my five star smile. In fact, he mentioned the latter to many girls who went to him for meetings and spoke enthusiastically about their physical appearances.

Upon being called in to speak to him, he would always ask for “my version of what happened” this in itself would wind me up. Not only was I already in trouble for speaking up for myself, but many managers have already taken the Senior Members’ word for what happened and they’re on their side no matter what, regardless of what you say. So I always wondered why I had even been called into the office in the first place. It was obviously just scare mongering and an attempt to intimidate me further. If the Senior can’t intimidate you on board, then they will make sure your manager sees to it.

Ram also liked to speak about “perceptions” and how I said things “in the wrong way”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think I know how to speak to people by now. Before EK hired me, I had worked for another European Airline for two years and worked as a Teacher, so telling me I don’t know how to express myself correctly is pretty offensive, in my opinion. What the problem with Seniors is, when they say something to you, as in, when they’re giving you what they call “constructive criticism” you MUST agree with it. The ridiculous thing about this is, most of the criticism wasn’t even constructive in the first place and I was constantly being spoken down to like I was a child or an animal. Something which, as a fully grown, educated adult, I will not tolerate from anyone. Especially someone who I just met in the briefing room an hour before the flight. One thing a lot of seniors and managers liked to say is “it’s not my opinion on you, it’s an observation” which, in time, I came to disagree with because you might well observe a lot of me, other crew on board and how we behave and do our job, but one thing I know for sure is, when negative things are consistently written for little or no reason, it’s no longer an observation, it’s an opinion. A forced opinion.

Truth is, seniors on board are under immense pressure by their own managers to report and spot errors in as many crew as possible. Their excuse for this type of discipline is: “no crew member is perfect.” Understandable, but no human being is perfect, are they? So to me, this is an utterly pathetic excuse to use for why seniors and managers must consistently knock hard working crew down, intimidate and bully them until they snap. Until they have to come in and see their managers who then feed them the infamous line “If you’re not happy, then resign

It’s one big domino effect. Managers pressurise Seniors, who then pass on that pressure to their crew on board, who then feel so overwhelmed by that pressure, they end up collapsing. Crew by this point are no longer able to perform at their best, they’re exhausted by the negativity and constant lack of support. When crew then stop performing well on board and not trying their best, the seniors have more negative comments to write on their flight reviews, which the Cabin Crew Managers then call that crew member in for. So the viscous circle continues, until the crew member resigns.

The way I heard some Seniors speak to other crew was shocking for me. I’m fully aware no job is perfect and that there will always be someone who disagrees with you, but this wasn’t one or two people trying to cause trouble here and there. This was a daily occurrence on almost every flight. A regular pattern of consistent brainwashing. If it wasn’t me, it was somebody else on the receiving end of a Senior’s insecurity or fear. A Senior’s fear that, if all the crew on board that flight were well behaved and hard working, they wouldn’t fulfill their own Manager’s dream of having “no perfect crew”, which usually resulted in that Senior getting into trouble. So, in order to save their own backs, they had to taint as many crew as possible.

There were crew on board who I flew with who had been Doctors, Nurses, Teachers and Lawyers back in their home countries. People who came from highly educated backgrounds doing this job for various reasons, whether it was for the experience, the challenge, travel, career breaks etc… All at some point, being subjected to this mental bullying, brainwashing and belittling. All in the name of pretentious Emirates, who think being the best means you have to give up your rights to be treated like a human being.

I remember the flight when I finally snapped and decided that I was done with this ludicrous system of discipline. It started when the Purser decided he wanted to question me on religion, a big no-go area when it comes to topics to discuss on board. Now, I’m sure there are people who will be reading this and thinking “What’s the problem with asking that?” but for people who haven’t worked in this company, EK strongly advise crew to avoid any conversations on board regarding Religion, Sex or Politics…which is perfectly understandable considering that you work with at least seven (sometimes more) different nationalities at a time on one flight alone.

He asked me where I got my Muslim surname from (I’m of mixed heritage but I do not follow any religion of my own, I made this crystal clear on my application form when I applied) and if I was a Muslim or if I believed in God. I simply answered that I didn’t follow any religion and that this wasn’t the best conversation to have while at work and within earshot of passengers. He then had the nerve to ask me “Why are you not a Muslim?” I told him he had no right to question me about my, or anyone else’s religion on board and that the conversation was over. This backfired and made him furious because of the fact that I had stood up for myself and answered him back, which no doubt he wasn’t expecting me to do, nor was he intimidating me like he had hoped. The Purser was literally shaking with rage by this point. To ask someone “Why are you not a Muslim?” or of any other religion for that matter, is as offensive as asking someone about the colour of their skin. It’s unacceptable and I was having none of it.

The dye was cast from that moment onwards and he decided to make my life very difficult for the rest of the flight. He obviously told the other Senior what had happened because he also started to bully and pick at every little thing which I did wrong. Upon arrival into Dubai I was shown my flight review and told that my Manager would be notified of my “unacceptable” behaviour on board. Basically, I was being sent to see my manager because I didn’t want to speak about Religion on board. (Something crew were advised not to speak about in the first place)

I made the decision there and then that when I went in to see Ram, he’d be receiving my resignation as well. Enough was enough. I was done and dusted with trying to be the best I could be and getting nowhere,  or getting no recognition for my back breaking work and having people speak down to me, just because they have the power to have you sacked for nothing.

In the year and a half in which I had been flying, I had had NO sick days or missed flights and yet, funnily enough, Ram hadn’t noticed that. I had NO complaints from passengers, either. What he had noticed, however, was that although I did my JOB properly, never broke protocol or breached security, I was deemed as having an attitude because I refused to let Seniors speak to me disrespectfully. I refused to be consistently harassed on board. This behaviour from the Purser and Senior WAS harassment. And it wasn’t the first time I had been on the receiving end of it, nor was it the first time for many of my other colleagues who had experienced the same bullying, but were too scared to say anything in case they got reported to their managers. This kind of provoking always resulted in me speaking up on board but always ending up in HQ speaking to Ram Murphy.

Many a time I’d arrive at HQ to be met by his assistant, or whoever he could get on the day to go through the previous flight’s dramas with me. If Ram could get someone to do his dirty work, he would. He loved the status and no doubt the salary of a Manager but not the work load and responsibilities which came with it.

As soon I sat down, I handed him my resignation letter and said that I refused to speak about the pathetic “situation” which had happened on my previous flight. I didn’t want to hear another fake, lying word come from his mouth. These EK Managers, along with many Pursers and Seniors are so brainwashed they are incapable of thinking rationally. You can’t reason with a brainwashed person and I had finally come to the conclusion that I was no longer going to waste my time or energy trying to do so.

He took my resignation and asked me if I thought I was doing the right thing. Suddenly, he was interested. I said I was 100% sure and nothing he or anyone else said would change that. And with that, I walked out of the Crew Standby Lounge he was using as his office that day, and never looked back.

Post Emirates:

 

I’d like to add to anyone reading this blog who is current crew working for EK, who has been in a similar situation before, that you are not alone and it’s not your fault! This company will make anything your fault and make you out to be the bad guy all the time, there is no winning, unless you’re one of the bullies yourself. Many of my friends are still out there working for them and in all honesty, I don’t recognise them anymore. I feel like I’ve lost them to Emirates, like they’ve been kidnapped and have very little chance of being released back into the real world.

Today, not only am I earning more and doing less, I work normal hours with great people and I have time to socialise, keep up with friends, family and hobbies. All without having to watch my back. My happiness and confidence have soared and I finally feel like I’m myself again. I’m my own person, with strengths and weaknesses and I don’t have to feel guilty about it anymore. EK really knocked my self-esteem and I can now see why they hire people so young. (and have stopped hiring 30+) It’s so they can continue with their nasty, backward ways and be more comfortable knowing a 21 year old probably won’t question what they’re doing or know any different.

Cabin crew's third email with 100% attendance letter attached.

Cabin crew’s third email with 100% attendance letter attached.

Cabin crew's attendance letter (apologies for low quality).

Cabin crew’s attendance letter (apologies for low quality).


Dragana stopped blogging?

I’ve found this search term on my blog today “Dragana stopped blogging”. Please, be informed that I didn’t stop blogging, I just said everything that I had to say.

As a result of my articles EKAS department is freed from bullying and unprofessional behaviour of a bad mannered and uneducated person by the name Anoma Manuel and following HR SVPs were terminated from the service:

  • Sophia Panayiotou, Senior Vice President Human Resources Business Support,
  • Katarina Ciumei, Senior Vice President Human Resources (Remuneration and Planning),
  • Rick Helliwell, Vice President – Corporate Leadership and Talent Management.

Although all of this means that I was right all the time, nobody from EK called me to apologize or to fulfil their obligations towards me. This speaks enough for itself. There is nobody in Emirates Airline capable enough to lead the company anywhere else than in the complete and total human resource disaster and maybe a bankruptcy as well. Of course, nobody will believe this until it actually happens.

I got offers from some EK passengers who want me to open a special page for them on my blog, where they can talk about bad customer service and negligence they are getting from EK. I am not sure whether to do that as damaging the image of EK was never my goal. Employees’ well-being is, on the other hand, my goal.

This web address is always open for everyone who wants to publish their stories and cases.

My e-mail address is dragana.blog.ek@gmail.com and if you are experiencing any kind of injustice or harassment and you want to talk about it in public (and anonymously), do not hesitate to send me an e-mail any time.


Workplace harassment in Emirates Airline

Harassment at work is an omnipresent thing in Emirates Airline. This is due to undeveloped organisational culture and lack of education among EK managers.

Emirates Airline had a bad luck (or bad HR department?) to get some people with “slave holder” mentality on top positions. And while this kind of mentality was certainly efficient in the disturbing times when people were forced to pick the cotton for their “owners”, these times are different and humanity agreed about something called The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Unfortunately, it is possible today that some people reach high positions of VP, SVP, DVP, etc. still not being familiar with this Declaration. People with this kind of mentality are usually weak and always afraid that they’re not capable enough to cope with their responsibilities, so they use bullying and force, misusing their positions, to scare and threaten others, so that their incapability remains invisible. This is why I will write about harassment at work in this article which has the aim to raise the awareness of a workplace harassment in EK.

7174-HARASSMENT3

Workplace harassment is:

  • the offensive, belittling or threatening behavior directed at an individual worker or a group of workers[1]
  • the odious dealing through pitiless, malevolent, hurtful or embarrassing attempts to undermine an individual worker or groups of workers.[2]

Recently, matters of workplaceharassment have gained interest among practitioners and researchers as it is becoming one of the most sensitive areas of effective workplace management. In Oriental countries, it attracted lots of attention from researchers and governments since the 1980s, because a significant source of work stress is associated with aggressive behaviors at workplace.[3] Third world countries are far behind oriental countries in that there are limited efforts to investigate the questions on workplace harassment. It is almost unseen and the executive leaders (managers) are almost reluctant or unconscious about it in the third world countries.[2] Under occupational health and safety laws around the world,[4] workplace harassment and workplace bullying are identified as being core psychosocial hazards.[5]

This is a definition from Wikipedia. I would not use the term “Oriental”, since there are some really developed oriental countries (Japan, South Korea, China) which have implemented the concept of human and labour rights a long time ago. Nevertheless, I will use this definition and my case with former DVP EKAS Anoma Manuel as an example of a workplace harassment.

First of all, Emirates Airline has a policy on work related molestation of employees. Even if Ms.Anoma doesn’t read EK manuals, HR managers should know them by heart because they are the ones who write them. But it seems like EK HR high managers don’t read their own manuals as well.

For your information, this is the Emirates Airline Manual on Harassment which you can use if you are harassed by your colleague or boss.

C6-5 Avoidance Of Harassment

Context

1. Definition

2. Policy

3. Required Action By Employee

Context
The Company’s overall policy is to act with care and consistency in dealing with individual employees at all times. This is given as one of the principles in the Employment Regulation on “Code of Conduct and Business Ethics”. Details of how this policy/principle will be applied, are given below.
This policy covers the work place only. The Company cannot extend the coverage to outside the work place unless there is a very clear overlap or linkage between events and/or persons, so as to adversely affect work performance.
1. Definition
1.1
Harassment is defined as a regular and repeated pattern of behaviour between people, during interactive situations in the work/business environment, which is considered intolerable or offensive, because it is based on or includes forms of behaviour given in paragraph 1.2.
1.2
Harassment takes many forms including, but not restricted to, physical contact ranging from touching to assault, domineering and bullying behaviour, verbal and written interaction through offensive jokes and language, gossip, threats, distasteful photographs or pictures, mimicking, anonymous letters, emails, sms, telephone and mobile  calls.
1.3
Harassment does not exist merely on the basis of setting regular or repetitive performance targets, unless the method of describing these is accompanied by forms of behaviour given in paragraph 1.2.
2. Policy
2.1
The Company accepts the right of every staff member to a working environment free from harassment and will take appropriate steps to promote and maintain such an environment.
2.2
The Company will not accept that any employee should give or be subject to any form of harassment. The Company will provide protection for employees who consider that they are being harassed.
2.3
The Company is opposed to any form of harassment being practised against its employees or potential employees on the grounds of their race, creed, nationality, gender, marital status, age, colour, physical or mental disability, religious or sexual persuasion, or as given in the Definition above.
2.4
The Company will provide the means to address problems as quickly as possible, and as near as possible to the level at which the problem arises. All reports will be treated seriously and without prejudice to employees or their careers.
2.5
An employee who in good faith, reports an incident of alleged harassment of whatever form, will not suffer any penalty for doing so.
2.6
Retaliation against an employee for having complained of being involved in harassment will be deemed to be harassment itself and will be treated as a disciplinary offence.
2.7
An employee who repeats harassment action after an initial warning, will be subject to disciplinary action which could include termination.
3. Required Action By Employee
3.1
Employees should ensure that they do not harass a colleague or colleagues.
3.2
Employees should report any form of harassment as outlined under “Definition” above, provided it is supported by recorded factual details of each incident. The report should be to the appropriate Line Manager or Manager Human Resources.
3.3 Employees who observe what they consider to be unacceptable behaviour, are encouraged to report factually on behalf of the harassed colleague.

You can hear my whole story on the audio record from Termination Appeal Meeting with Ms.Michelle Carswell and Mr.Mohammad Mattar.

Long story short – the whole “molestation situation” with Ms.Anoma Manuel began when I have “replied to all recipients” in the e-mail which I got from admin, notifying me that I have to go to the training on my day off otherwise “penalty applies”.

This is the point where Ms.Anoma showed a serious lack of knowledge about labour rights and her staff’s contracts (this is nothing new, since Ms.Anoma also didn’t know that her staff has a 7 hours shift without a break. You can hear that on the audio record from the Open Forum).

Uneducated and weak personality managers are the huge sore point of Emirates Airline, because they make this gigantic company look like a concentration camp. At the same time, there are many, many check in agents, for example, who are much more educated and better mannered than former DVP EKAS and many EKAS managers. This situation was the core of the catastrophe which happened in EKAS. That department is ruined, so now a new DVP Walter Riggans has to repair the damage. He started with cancelling the new “ABC” check in and boarding system which was implemented forcefully while Ms.Anoma was there.

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So, Ms. Anoma called me for a meeting several times “to talk about my e-mail” and several times she cancelled the meeting. I don’t know if Ms. Anoma is aware, but this is a pure psychological harassment (intimidation) – employee has to prepare for the meeting with nobody else but the very DVP, and DVP is prolonging the stressful situation by delaying the meeting. By doing this, Ms.Anoma showed very severe disrespect for her staff. Third time when Ms.Anoma scheduled the meeting, I called sick due to heavy headache and nausea. At the same time I was constantly “warned” by my supervisors and duty officers that I am “monitored” by the management.

I went to the forced training, under the stress, and I didn’t agree with the trainer that we “have two options in the company – to find the happiness inside or to resign”. I disagreed in a very civilized manner, but majority of trainers and managers in EK are not aware of the concept of “civilized discussion” and the fact that “if you are not with me, you are against me” is not true. (Local) trainer complained on me, and Ms.Anoma was happy to give me the warning, although all the witnesses from the training confirmed that there was no arguing at the class and that we were just discussing Richard Branson’s thesis about the importance of staff’s happiness.

ASM (airport services manager) who gave me the warning told me that it is “from Ms.Anoma” and that she told me that this time “I have to schedule a meeting with her” if I want to talk about my warning. This was already even beyond bullying, as it was, by my opinion, a pure revenge because I didn’t come to a third scheduled meeting with her.

Anoma Manuel, former DVP EKAS

Anoma Manuel, former DVP EKAS

I left it as it was. I didn’t go to Ms.Anoma and I kept quiet, continuing to do my job. But, I was already under the huge pressure, shaken by meetings, interrogations and stress.

I have got my final warning for a (local – this is important thing to say, because staff is often given a warning when a passenger with a western or local passport complains on staff) passenger. Passenger went against my instructions aggressively, I told the staff that passenger is not checked in and not to check her in, because I have instructed her where to go, and the passenger made a whole drama which nobody, from a supervisor, via duty officer, ASM and MAS (manager airport services) COULDN’T RESOLVE. This speaks a lot about management capability. Hysterical passenger got an upgrade, and I got a final warning, although I was just doing my job (guiding the passengers to the right counters), I didn’t offend or yell at the passenger. Many passengers know that if they make a fuss, they will get everything they want, so passengers use that strategy a lot. Management, on the other hand, doesn’t want to take the responsibility and stop this practice. Instead, they are wasting company’s money and punishing staff.

Ms.Anoma was happy to arrange this warning as well.

Only after all of this torture I came to the Open Forum and asked Ms.Anoma about her salary. After all the “inappropriate behaviour” that she consciously did, mine was almost benign, provoked by serious bullying that Ms. Anoma and EKAS management conducted over me.

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This is a pure example of a ruthless workplace mobbing and I hope that it will serve to all managers and staff to get familiar with this concept as it is very harmful for such an ambitious company as EK is.

Paradoxically, the final move on this whole story was made by HR management which didn’t make a tiniest effort to respond to the complaint of mine, let alone to take some actions. They fired me instead. And wanted to put me in prison.

If you ever decide to file a complaint on harassment (I hope that after all that happened with my complaint, HR managers will not dare to fire harassed complainants again), this is how it should look like (remember to read the Manual first and to mention all the parts of the Manual which were violated in your case, describing the way they were violated and all the events). I also hope that outstations’ staff will not be endangered by Ms.Anoma Manuel’s and her bosses’ bullying behaviour, as much as hub staff was.

If Emirates Airline is serious in becoming the biggest and the best airliner in the world, they will have to stop the practices where their own management (including HR managers!) violates company’s manuals.

This complaint was sent to (former?) SVP HR Sophia Panayiotou, SVP HR Masooma Hassan and EVP/COO Adel Ahmad Al Redha.

Nobody replied.

Dear Ms Sophia, Ms Massooma and Mr Redha,

My name is Dragana and I work as a check-in agent. I was regruted abroad and my profession is graduated HR Manager with a master degree.
Forgive me for not being specific in chapters of the Employee Regulations Manual below in the text since I only have a copy of couple of relevant pages with me in the moment of writing this e-mail.
I would like to file an official complaint of harassment over me done by EKAS DVP Anoma Manuel in accordance with:
No 1 Employee Regulations Manual – Disciplinary – 2. General Guidelines – 2.3.2. Gross Misconduct – Discrimination or harassment of employees or member of the public
I would like to report serious violation of Employee Regulations Manual done by DVP Anoma Manuel in accordance with:
No 2  Employee Regulations Manual – Chapter missing – 1. Personal Conduct – 1.2. Employees are prohibited from using their position and authority to further their personal interest.
No 3  Employee Regulations Manual – Disciplinary – 3. Disciplinary hearings – 3.2.2 For formal hearings  the employee will be given written notice as is reasonable given the nature of the misconduct and the preparation time required. This, however, will not be less than 24 hours so the employee can prepare for the hearing. The notice will contain details of the alleged misconduct.
No 4  Employee Regulations Manual – Disciplinary – 4. Disciplinary Action Sequence – 4.2 Written warning
No 5  Employee Regulations Manual – Disciplinary – 4. Disciplinary Action Sequence – 4.3 Final written warning
No 6  Employee Regulations Manual – Disciplinary – Section C6-3 (C) – 1. Appeals – 1.2. The employee will be given five working days (from the date the decision is conveyed) to appeal against the decision in writing to the Appeal Authority. If a written appeal is not received within this period, the action taken will be deemed final and binding.
No 7  Employee Regulations Manual – Disciplinary – Section C6-3 (C) – 1. Appeals – 1.6. The Appeal Authority will generally give a decision within 5 working days after the hearing.
And I would like to seek your immediate protection from torture that I am exposed to at my working place in accordance with:
No 8 Employee Regulations Manual – Chapter missing – 12. Respect for the individual – The company will act with care and consistency in dealing with individual employees at all times.
I have already asked an appointment with a Group psychologist, since I am feeling depressed and very stressed out.
I will try to explain what happened, although this unbearable situation is lasting for almost half of a year now, with culmination in the last few days.
As you may or may not know, in answer of every day complaints and resignations of staff at EKAS department, DVP Ms Anoma Manuel organized Open Forums for all staff to give them “opportunity to be heard”. I was attending the last forum in series, which was conducted on 21St of July. During the forum I asked Ms Anoma several questions. My feeling was that I was ignored, bullied and silenced during the whole timings of the forum.
After the forum I was called for the Disciplinary Meeting. I was notified that the reason is “Inappropriate behaviour”, without any other given details. I have assumed that I am called regarding my participation on the Open forum. Now, I have an audio record of everything that was happening at the forum, so everyone can conclude and decide who was behaving unprofessional and inappropriate during the forum, that is a separate issue. But this is the moment when I want to report that the Disciplinary procedure from the Employee Regulations Manual (No 3 in above text) was violated. I should receive any written notice about Disciplinary Hearing 24 hours in advance. I have received a text message by Shaher Banu on my phone at 3:02 pm inviting me for the Hearing on the next day at 12:00 am. Since I had duty yesterday from 5pm, I saw the message only when I came to the airport at 4:50 pm.
When i reached the airport I have opened my e-mail and I saw an invitation for a Disciplinary Hearing from Shaher Banu (with Mr Rami El Samra and HRM Amanda Maxwell in cc). I have replied to that e-mail, explaining that it is impossible for me to come at 12am next day, since I am working until 3am, that I need my sleep and I need time to find available witness. Mr Rami El Samra answered my e-mail, notifying me that I will be released from my duty at midnight. I answered to that e-mail that it is still impossible for me to prepare psychologically and to find my witness. Mr Rami did not send any reply after that.
Around 9pm I have got the call from RTC notifying me to go to MAS office. When I went there, MAS notified me that Ms Anoma sent him an e-mail in the early afternoon about my early release. I have told to MAS that I have already notified Mr Rami about my difficulties to attend the Disciplinary meeting. MAS sent e-mail to Ms Anoma and I stayed at my duty until 3pm.
Now, this is a very painful and stressful situation for me. I was not given a legal notice for preparation and I was feeling forced to come to the meeting (after my tiring night shift), although I did not have time to find my witness (given the fact that most of my friends and colleagues are afraid to be witnesses because of the constant latent threat that they will lose their jobs if they support me).
I am also feeling prosecuted and punished for saying my opinion on the Open Forum that had an aim to enable staff to tell their opinions and ask questions. This is outrageous for me, I am not used to this severe violation of my right to express my opinion in a polite way. I am shocked by this Disciplinary Meeting invitation since I did absolutely nothing wrong and I have a proof for that. I consider this for a ruthless harassment at my working place.
Reading Employee Regulations Manual, I found out that I haven’t done any of Misconduct or Gross Misconduct acts.
I am constantly punished and called for meetings and hearings for the last couple of months. It is happening since I have expressed to Ms Anoma my desire to be treated as a human being and not a slave.
  1. Ms Anoma is forcing me to come to work on my days off.
  2. Ms Anoma is giving me shifts of 12 hours with one hour break (which gives me the chance to eat only once in 14 hours, including transport).
  3. Ms Anoma is giving me the whole shift of 7 hours without any break.
  4. Ms Anoma is making me attend trainings on my day offs, and then, if I do not show up, she is taking 500 dirhams from my salary to punish me.
  5. Ms Anoma is giving me only 5 hours to sleep, depriving me from my sleep.
  6. Ms Anoma imposed rule of fear at the airport where everyone are afraid of warnings and terminations.
  7. A few days ago my e-mail account was restricted for communication with all grade 4 and 5 staff. I am not sure who did this, but it is a very serious attempt to isolate me from my friends and colleagues.
  8. I have a lot more issues with Ms Anoma, but the most important one, which violated Employee Regulations Manual is when she violated Written Warning procedure.
Recently, I had an issue with a passenger who would not listen to my instructions, behaving aggressive and dangerous. In accordance with company safety rules, I have instructed the staff not to check in the passenger and, since the passenger was shouting on me, I expressed my intention to call a police to protect myself. After this issue I was called for hearing, because passenger complained on my conduct. Several procedures were violated during this process:
1. My hearing was held IN FRONT of the passenger, so I did not have a proper chance to defend myself.
2. My solo hearing was not held on the same day when incident happened, but only several days later, in the presence of HR manager.
3. I have got a written warning for this incident (explanation was that “I have no right to refuse anyone’s check in since I am not security and that I have no right to call the police.” When I have expressed my feeling that I was psychologically attacked by the passenger, I got the answer from my ASM that “there is no such thing as a psychological harassment in this company”).
4. I had a witness to this incident whom nobody called to tell her perception of the incident.
5. I have got the copy and a notification about this Written warning on 20th June (Friday), but the Warning was dated 18 June. Since I had 5 days to appeal, I was left with only ONE day to send my appeal and I have a proof for that since MAS agreed to sign my actual date of getting the warning.
6. I had Appeal Hearing Meeting regarding this warning, where I have presented new evidences that procedure was not respected accordingly, in front of DVP Anoma Manuel and HR Manager Amanda Maxwell. It was around one month ago. I haven’t got any reply on my appeal, although the legal dead line is 5 days, as written in Employee Regulations Manual (No 7 in above text).
Since I have not got the answer to my appeal, this warning should be erased from my HR direct, but it is still there.
Ms Anoma Manuel is misusing her, almost unlimited, power to haunt me, bully me and scare me.
I am just a grade 4 staff and my hands are completely tightened. It is hard for me to my voice to even be heard, because my position is so much lower than Ms Anoma’s. I am tired and depressed of fighting for my voice to be heard. I am exhausted, and before I seek protection from my embassy or from some court of law (local or international), I have decided to ask you to stand in my protection, because I have no one other. I have left my whole life in my country, my parents, my friends and my job in order to come and work for Emirates. I have explained in this e-mail which parts of Employee Regulations Manual Ms Anoma has brutally violated and I have concrete proofs for all of them.
Please, help me. 
Sincerely yours,
Dragana
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