Eric Hall - Brown Nose

Ever since Kathy became the team manager around 1998, she began filling just about every vacant position either with a friend or with someone she knew. I can only think that she did this in the hope that those people would be beholding to her, and support her. That's not to say that none of them were any good, but there were certainly some who could not have been selected on merit. Almost all of the people who she took on by this method were women; the one exception that I can think of being Eric Hall who happened to be a friend of an existing female colleague, Suzie, who in turn was a close friend of Kathy's, and who Kathy chose to include on the interview panel for Eric's interview. This was a new post that Kathy created for a Project Manager, and it was slightly odd because we already had the luxury of a full time Project Manager. Added to that; whenever a high profile project came up, Kathy would take it for herself to manage. We all felt that the Project Managers were under occupied, while for years I was doing the work of one and a half employees.

This recruitment method resulted in the formation of a clique, but it also created a millstone round Kathy's neck. She's a very poor people manager, and she had only made things worse for herself by creating a team that was difficult to manage. Those in the clique felt it was their right to receive favourable treatment, and to keep them sweet, Kathy gave them it. On the other hand, at one point it felt like 80% of the work was done by 20% of the team; Jaana, me, Marco and Bruce - all non clique members. Later, Stephen, Suzie, Paul and David did more than their fair share.

Kathy desperately wanted to be liked, but that shouldn't be the main goal of a manager. Ironically some of the clique strongly disliked her, and in the case of Eric; hated her. "I hate the fucking bitch!" he told me one day while he was with me and Lynn. Just as ironic, Eric also intensely disliked Suzie after she divorced David Gardiner; his chum from schooldays. It became an obsession with him, and he would work it in to just about every conversation.

Lynn had made Eric aware of a meeting that Kathy and I had with Mark Toole where Kathy had behaved like a lunatic. She had gone on an astonishing rant where she desperately invented reasons to criticise me. This was because at a similar meeting a few weeks earlier, Mark had got her to agree to stop criticising me unjustly and publicly. My union rep who witnessed it, strongly agreed that it was serious bullying. He advised Mark to take action to stop it, and he made him aware of Kathy's mistreatment of a former colleague.

Although Eric hated Kathy, he knew which side his bread was buttered on. He defended Kathy's behaviour and said that she was entitled to behave that way because I had submitted a grievance against her. He then added that if I was ever to submit a grievance against him, he would kick my "fucking" head in. I commented on his aggression, and he quickly apologised, but he'd shown just how irrational he was on the topic. His experience in the team was the complete opposite of mine. Kathy treated him with dignity; he was never overworked, or anywhere near it; he was allowed to attend training courses and conferences; and there's probably more that I don't know about. I told him that during my grievance, I was asked what outcome I wanted, and I said that I wanted Kathy removed from the team. If that were to have happened (and it SHOULD have happened), it would have been a shock to Eric's system to have a new manager that treats everyone equally, and expects a day's work from him. A new manager might even decide that there just isn't enough work to justify having two full time Project Managers, and that the team needed people with development skills. Every year, Kathy would present the team with a list, several pages long, of development work that had been requested, and every year we barely scratched the surface of that list. Mark Toole got rid of a whole team to meet his staff budget cut. In my opinion it would have made far more sense to have looked at each role in the department and considered what it was actually accomplishing. I know that Lynn and Eric had both been nervous about the cuts. And how could Mark justify getting rid of Alison, Oron and Rob while keeping Eileen, Jackie and Selina?

David had told Eric about how Jackie had screamed at me a couple of weeks earlier. I said it was ridiculous, and Eric tried to play it down by saying something like "That's just how Jackie is. You're never going to change her." I said that Kathy had had 12 years to do something about her. He again defended Kathy by saying that she had attempted to sort Jackie out a couple of years earlier when Jackie had been sending out overly aggressive and overly technical emails to other (non technical) teams. Kathy had told Jackie not to send out any more emails without checking with her first. Jackie then went off sick on work related stress because of it, so Kathy backed off and dropped the matter.

There was an improper, unhealthy work relationship between Kathy and Eric. The deal was that they would support each other even when they were wrong or being dishonest. One time at a full team meeting, Eric, who is non technical, made a suggestion. It would have been an excellent suggestion except for the fact that it was technically impossible. I pointed out why it couldn't work, and how if we attempted it, we would simply cause ourselves more work. Kathy completely ignored me, and said it was a good idea, and that we would implement it. This was in a room full of technical experts. It wasn't rocket science, but nobody backed me up. Two minutes after the meeting, Eric came to me privately to say that after he had thought about it, he realised his suggestion wouldn't work. It was never mentioned again, but I was left to look like an idiot.

On another occasion, Kathy had sent me a cheeky email criticising me for not knowing the time in lieu procedure. She was wrong, and this was just more unjust criticism. I'd had enough of it, and I booked a meeting with her to discuss her behaviour towards me. On my way to Kathy's room, I asked Eric what he understood the TIL procedure to be. He said there was no procedure, and that it was taken on trust. I asked Kathy to explain her criticism. She said that I must follow the correct procedure like everyone else, and she said that Eric always does it correctly. I told her that Eric had just told me that there was no procedure. She quickly changed the subject. It transpired that I was the only person following the correct procedure because I was the only person she had told to follow it. I suspect she was planning to get Eric to say that there was a procedure, but I had accidently spoilt her plan. The reason Kathy had asked me to follow a TIL procedure was because Jackie had been spreading rumours claiming that I was taking TIL I wasn't entitled to.

It demonstrates how warped Kathy's mind is that she would unjustly criticise me for something she has dishonestly invented like not following a non existant procedure when I am the only one following the correct procedure for something as trivial as time in lieu, while someone like Eileen MacDonald can repeatedly breech university security procedures, and rather than discipline or criticise Eileen, she would rather change the procedure and reduce security. It's no wonder she desperately avoided discussing her behaviour. How could she possibly explain that?

Kathy also inappropriately involved Eric in matters that were private. For example she wanted him to attend my return to work interview. When I asked her if she did that with other employees, she told me it was none of my business, yet she wanted Eric to know all about MY business.

On another occasion, there had been a minor issue with a computer system. Normally she wouldn't have cared much about the issue. However, she wrongly thought that I was at fault, and decided to criticise me. She had criticised me a number of times before, only to find out she was wrong. This time she was sure. It wasn't sufficient to pop into my room and have a quiet word. She made a big song and dance about it, and sent a lengthy email. In order to gain further satisfaction, she copied her email to Eric, even though it had nothing to do with him. Sad to say; she was wrong again! Unlike Kathy who waited until after the event to appear clever and say that I should have anticipated the problem, I had actually anticipated the problem and done everything in my power to prevent it, and had even worked late doing so. Furthermore, I could prove it. Just like every other time she criticised me inappropriately, no apology was forthcoming. Kathy doesn't do apologies.

Kathy took part in a training course that was to last more than a year. Eric was one of four team members required to answer questions in order to rate Kathy as a manager. Kathy was rated very badly. She received scores of 2 and 3 while the others on the course scored 7s and 8s. Eric told me she received the worst scores that anybody had ever received on the course. When Kathy found out, she met with the four team members, and tried to persuade them that they hadn't understood the questions. They said that they had felt intimidated by this. At the end of her course, the same four were asked to answer the questions again. Eric admitted that he had lied in order to give Kathy better scores than she deserved, just for a quiet life. This angered Jaana who also answered the questions, because she felt the whole exercise was a waste of time if they weren't honest. It was worse than a waste of time, it produced inaccurate data that was intended to improve Kathy's performance.

Eric was one of he people that Karen Stark and Eileen Schofield interviewed as part of their fake investigation for my grievance. Some of those interviewed had denied things they had done to me, including things done in front of a dozen or more witnesses. Eileen took their denials to be proof that I had just made it up. In a fake investigation, that's what you do; you certainly don't ask the witnesses, and you don't ask the the complainant if they have evidence. You also ignore the fact that Kathy had already admitted that she was fully aware that the incidents happened, and that she had signed a document saying so. Eric went a stage further and made stuff up to help Kathy in her hour of need. He said that he felt I had "a problem with women". In the fake investigation, Eric wasn't asked to give any examples of this problem he felt I had with women. Eric knows I don't have a problem with women. When I first read his statement, I didn't see the point in him saying it. It wasn't something that Kathy had ever suggested. I found out later when I saw the notes of Kathy's meeting with Karen and Eileen. It was Karen Stark who, completely out of the blue, had planted the suggestion in Kathy's mind. Kathy took the opportunity to run with it. No doubt she passed the suggestion to Eric and Eileen MacDonald. The suggestion was then used in an attempt to get me sacked, and by the time Una Forsyth made her statement for the disciplinary investigation, the story had grown arms and legs, and I "only got on with two out of the eleven women in the team". Of course, in a fake investigation you don't ask those other nine women if they get on with me, and if not, why not. You also wouldn't ask Una why she cooked me a meal and asked me to be her Facebook friend when she didn't get on with me. Una didn't cook Eric a meal. They weren't friends on Facebook, and I don't think she showed him her photo of her stepping out of the shower with just a towel to hide her modesty. Maybe she has a problem with men?

Eric said "Kathy treats everyone professionally and equally", and that she had "an excellent way of managing the team". He didn't say anything about him "hating the fucking bitch" or how he only scored her 3 out of 10 then lied just for a "quiet life". If there was an award for the team's brownest nose, Eric's the winner!

To be continued...

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