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Jon Bigger Victimisation Update: Employer calls online support for #PCS Rep ‘negative’ in document to staff

May 2, 2013 4 comments

Imagine arriving at work, logging into your account and reading a document that described you as a “former employee”.  That is exactly what Jon Bigger faced a couple of weeks ago when he arrived for work.  Just to clarify, Jon has been given his notice but that doesn’t run out until August so he is very much still an employee of the organisation.

The Corporate Strategy Directorate produces a weekly summary of social media activity about passports from twitter.  They call this the Social Media Dashboard.  As Jon is a member of the Directorate he gets copied into this dashboard.

A recent version of it contained information split into negative and positive comments about the Identity and Passport Service.  Highlighting ‘negative’ comments the dashboard included the following: “There has also been some activity regarding the compulsory redundancy of PCS rep Jon Bigger.”  It then went on to mention that Jon had received substantial support on twitter and it referred to him as a “former employee”.

The dashboard is sent to everyone in the Corporate Strategy Directorate and presumably some people beyond the Directorate.  It speaks volumes that not only did people in his own Directorate think he was a former employee but they also clearly didn’t realise that he was on their email distribution list.  The rules are quite clear on harassment at work and this obviously falls foul of the policy.

Jon sent an email to everyone in the Directorate.  That email is written below in its entirety but without the attachment mentioned:

Hello all,

I logged on to find an official document has been forwarded to everyone in the directorate referring to me as a “former employee”.  The document is attached below.  As you can see rumours of me leaving the organisation have been wildly exaggerated.

The fact that I’m mentioned at all is worrying and is symbolic of the way I have been treated by the Agency and the Home Office.  I note that the fact people are supporting me on social media has been construed as ‘negative’ on the dashboard.  I’m personally very pleased with all the support.  I deserve it and it’s a very positive thing.

I’m not sure who heads up the Customer Intelligence Team but two issues stand out for that individual.  The first is around being factual; I am a current employee.  The second is around having dignity and respect for those you work with; I respect you and I expect it in return.  Not to mention in detail the data protection implications.

I would appreciate the person responsible for the team contacting me immediately with an apology please.  Following which I shall be considering what further action may be necessary.  Hopefully the apology will suffice.

Thanks,
Jon.

There has indeed been a great deal of support for Jon online.

Since Jon wrote his email and presumably because senior management realise how appalling it was to mention him in this official document and spread it around the workplace, he has received an apology.  However, we consider it important to keep people up to date with the way our reps are being treated.  Jon is not the only person to suffer: we’ve had a number of dismissals in recent years, reps banned from the computer system and others going through formal processes.

In the Home Office we face a hostile employer but we do so with passion and commitment.  Whatever they throw at us we stay and grow stronger.

Victimisation of reps in the Home Office must cease.  Jon needs to be offered a role so that his redundancy can be avoided.

Branch Executive Committee