Call centre manager wins tribunal

Fay Hand was an operations manager for almost 17 years at EE's Darlington site

Fay Hand was an operations manager for almost 17 years at EE's Darlington site

First published in National News © by

A call centre boss who was sacked by mobile giant EE after office banter got out of hand and a man was kicked unconscious at his desk has won her employment tribunal case against the firm.

Fay Hand, an operations manager for almost 17 years at EE's Darlington site, has won a five-figure payout for unfair dismissal.

The tribunal judge found she had an unblemished record and was "clearly a highly-regarded and valued employee" but she was sacked when a member of her team snapped after one prank too many.

Tribunal judge Gerald Johnson wrote that call centre work could be "somewhat mundane and repetitive" and that there were "occasional incidents of banter".

Examples included "crop dusting" - breaking wind near a colleague - as well as switching the language on a computer keyboard, swapping screens to cause confusion and taping up a computer mouse. But last September things turned more serious.

One employee had his car keys pinched and a new Fifa computer game inside the vehicle was taken and held for ransom.

The employee grew angry, but his immediate boss did not stop the horseplay.

Mrs Hand, who was in charge of 11 team leaders and 111 agents, commented to the team leader that the employee was not happy and told her to "sort it out".

The employee soon after admitted he had a "sense of humour failure" and the issue was believed to be resolved.

But the following month when the same employee's security pass was defaced with a permanent marker by a colleague, he flipped and kicked his victim at his desk, knocking him unconscious.

The attacker was immediately suspended and the next day he came to work with a three-page statement, setting out what had been happening, and claiming the security pass incident was the "last straw".

He claimed his team leader and operations manager Mrs Hand did not take his complaints seriously.

EE sacked seven employees, including the victim, the kicker, the team leader and Mrs Hand. The firm said she failed to protect the employee and breached its policy on harassment and bullying.

But the judge found that managers held a wholly inadequate investigation into Mrs Hand's actions, and that her dismissal was pre-judged.

Speaking after the case, the mother of two from Wynyard, Teesside, said: "It was painful but I had to stand up for myself.

"It was worth going through all of that, I can hold my head up high again with a clear record.

"That is what I wanted.

"I did love my job, I did it well and there had not been any issues."

She no longer has a call centre job and works in an office managing fewer people.

Her solicitor John Mitton, of PG Legal in Gateshead, said: "From the outset of meeting with our client, it was evident that there were a number of failures adopted by EE with their procedures. This should be a time for reflection on EE's part."

Comments (1)

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11:02am Mon 1 Sep 14

Andrew R Thompson says...

This is most evident in the UK and the Next System was designed in the UK as well. Serious Fraud has been reported in both Business and Corporate areas costing the company 10s of millions of pounds and the stupid way they restructure around the problem. This is still ongoing and was first highighted over 7 years ago.

>>>

Harassment strategies at the workplace: The case of France Télécom Orange

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Search YouTube with the following text...

Harassment strategies at the workplace: The case of France Télécom Orange

Please watch...

http://www.youtube.c
om/watch?v=W4oxLwqM3
D4

After its privatisation and the buyout of the British company Orange, the French corporation France Télécom Orange has appeared often in the media because of a striking wave of suicides among its employees. Dozens of employees of this company have committed suicide since 2008 (and counting). This includes a tragic self-immolation in April 2011.

Some have blamed the plan NeXT, started in 2006, which contemplated 22,000 job cuts during a period of 3 years. Provided that an official labour force adjustment plan could potentially be expensive for the company, the corporate strategists devised a programme aimed at making people willing to leave. In the frame of this plan, managers were offered bonuses which were proportional to the number of employees they were able to get rid of. In addition, they also received training on psychological manipulation techniques.

The result was a case of massive organised harassment and psychological abuse at the workplace. As a direct consequence of such a plan, and, in addition to the dozens of suicides and suicide attempts, it is estimated that thousands of employees and former employees of France Télécom Orange are receiving psychological or psychiatric advice. Most of them are also being medicated with antidepressants.

HARASSMENT IN THE CORPORATE ENVIRONMENT

The fact is that the manipulation strategies and techniques used by France Télécom Orange are far from being exceptional and, to a larger or lesser extent, have become pretty much the standard way of managing human resources in many corporations (and even, increasingly, in public agencies).

This video shows some of the techniques more commonly employed: systematic harsh interviews, absurd recriminations, setting unattainable tasks, social and/or physical isolation and ostracisation, transfer to a different city, assignment of degrading tasks, assignment of no project or of too many projects, having people travelling continuously from one company site to another for no good reason, inducing guilt feelings, etc.

The objectives are usually either forcing people to leave (but by forcing them to "choose" leaving) or exhausting them to make them accept terms that they would not accept in normal conditions.

Targets for harassment may become as well those managers who refuse to implement these psychological torture programmes.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION

This video was made using material from the following sources:

1.- Que s'est-il passé à France Telecom ?

TV report by Bernard Nicolas et Jacques Massard.

France 2, Envoyé Spécial, 30 September 2010.

http://envoye-specia
l.france2.fr/les-...


2.- France Télécom, malade à en mourir

Documentary by Bernard Nicolas.

Arte Thema, 16 November 2010.

http://arte.tv/fr/35
30624.html
This is most evident in the UK and the Next System was designed in the UK as well. Serious Fraud has been reported in both Business and Corporate areas costing the company 10s of millions of pounds and the stupid way they restructure around the problem. This is still ongoing and was first highighted over 7 years ago. >>> Harassment strategies at the workplace: The case of France Télécom Orange HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Search YouTube with the following text... Harassment strategies at the workplace: The case of France Télécom Orange Please watch... http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=W4oxLwqM3 D4 After its privatisation and the buyout of the British company Orange, the French corporation France Télécom Orange has appeared often in the media because of a striking wave of suicides among its employees. Dozens of employees of this company have committed suicide since 2008 (and counting). This includes a tragic self-immolation in April 2011. Some have blamed the plan NeXT, started in 2006, which contemplated 22,000 job cuts during a period of 3 years. Provided that an official labour force adjustment plan could potentially be expensive for the company, the corporate strategists devised a programme aimed at making people willing to leave. In the frame of this plan, managers were offered bonuses which were proportional to the number of employees they were able to get rid of. In addition, they also received training on psychological manipulation techniques. The result was a case of massive organised harassment and psychological abuse at the workplace. As a direct consequence of such a plan, and, in addition to the dozens of suicides and suicide attempts, it is estimated that thousands of employees and former employees of France Télécom Orange are receiving psychological or psychiatric advice. Most of them are also being medicated with antidepressants. HARASSMENT IN THE CORPORATE ENVIRONMENT The fact is that the manipulation strategies and techniques used by France Télécom Orange are far from being exceptional and, to a larger or lesser extent, have become pretty much the standard way of managing human resources in many corporations (and even, increasingly, in public agencies). This video shows some of the techniques more commonly employed: systematic harsh interviews, absurd recriminations, setting unattainable tasks, social and/or physical isolation and ostracisation, transfer to a different city, assignment of degrading tasks, assignment of no project or of too many projects, having people travelling continuously from one company site to another for no good reason, inducing guilt feelings, etc. The objectives are usually either forcing people to leave (but by forcing them to "choose" leaving) or exhausting them to make them accept terms that they would not accept in normal conditions. Targets for harassment may become as well those managers who refuse to implement these psychological torture programmes. TECHNICAL INFORMATION This video was made using material from the following sources: 1.- Que s'est-il passé à France Telecom ? TV report by Bernard Nicolas et Jacques Massard. France 2, Envoyé Spécial, 30 September 2010. http://envoye-specia l.france2.fr/les-... 2.- France Télécom, malade à en mourir Documentary by Bernard Nicolas. Arte Thema, 16 November 2010. http://arte.tv/fr/35 30624.html Andrew R Thompson
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