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Virgin Australia and its boss Jayne Hrdlicka hit with bullying claim

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Virgin Australia and its boss Jayne Hrdlicka hit with bullying claim

Old 27th Jul 2022, 23:44
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Methinks this is not the first time this lady has been sued. Or the last…
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Old 28th Jul 2022, 12:20
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If anyone thinks that bullying only started at VA after JH arrived, then they are way off the mark.

It has had an utterly toxic culture for quite some time. Good people get thrown out or squashed in that place and in many instances, complete and utter morons get promoted. I mean, I can think of one example but I won't give too many details as this is supposed to be an anonymous forum; but imagine someone who is so incompetent they can't even handle their job or one several rungs below it, who behaves in a manner (such as at functions) that would have them fired from any other company (such as the sort of stuff that would be frowned upon even in Mad Men) and they actually get promoted.

In the comments section of an aviation publication some months ago there was a mention of someone that had got made redundant and the comments section basically had responses such as 'hope the replacement is actually interested in their department and not in advancing themselves at the expense of morale and doing their job'.

I knew who they were talking about and the person concerned had been on a fast-track and no one could see it.

Here's where it gets complicated. Since JH arrived, more than a few of those types have been shown the door. Thus, not sure everything she is doing at VA is bad IMHO.

The accusations may be true about JH but looking at it on the surface, I tend to think what's missing is context. I mean the comment about the Ansett boys-club, was it said laughingly with a smile and now the words alone are being weaponised??

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Old 28th Jul 2022, 15:28
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Originally Posted by AerialPerspective View Post
...In the comments section of an aviation publication some months ago there was a mention of someone that had got made redundant and the comments section basically had responses such as 'hope the replacement is actually interested in their department and not in advancing themselves at the expense of morale and doing their job'.
That alone tells you something about the organisation concerned; redundancy is what happens when the job ceases to exist and the person becomes redundant.
If as you describe apparently everyone knew there would be a replacement then that's not a legitimate redundancy.
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Old 28th Jul 2022, 21:39
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Virgin has always had a fear of hiring ex-Ansett staff. They did it from day 1 of operation and tried to avoid hiring pilots, cabin crew and ground staff. The Virgin culture became toxic early in its life as an airline and it sounds like that is still the case.
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Old 28th Jul 2022, 23:55
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Why is this even being broadcast across the nation? Who cares. Keep it behind closed doors like the million other HR cases that employers deal with every day. This case isn’t unique and it isn’t the first.
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Old 29th Jul 2022, 00:12
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Originally Posted by Paragraph377 View Post
Virgin has always had a fear of hiring ex-Ansett staff. They did it from day 1 of operation and tried to avoid hiring pilots, cabin crew and ground staff. The Virgin culture became toxic early in its life as an airline and it sounds like that is still the case.

Are you sure?
The inaugural Chief Pilot was an ex Ansett pilot ,Indeed, he was the Ansett VP in the AFAP in the 1989 dispute.
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Old 29th Jul 2022, 00:31
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The inaugural Chief Pilot was an ex Ansett pilot ,Indeed, he was the Ansett VP in the AFAP in the 1989 dispute.
Thats true. He was also the person who first introduced pay for your own type rating with an Australian domestic airline. He was also the person who became very wealthy when Virgin was floated. To clarify P377's comment, Ansett pilots were employed by Virgin but they were aka "The Dirty Dozen". If you were employed by Ansett after July 1990 then you were a "cleanskin" and were an acceptable Ansett pilot. Anyone employed between 1989 and that date in 1990, or you had certain surnames, were never going to get in. There was a story of one young bloke in the latter category who was invited for an interview but at the end of the process the interview "team" kept repeating his surname and told him that there would be no position for him in Virgin. So this statement from P377 is correct:

The Virgin culture became toxic early in its life as an airline and it sounds like that is still the case.
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Old 29th Jul 2022, 03:37
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I suspect there is a lot more to this than makes sensationalist reading.

Can’t imagine Jayne or Bain tolerating mediocrity, particularly given the perilous nature of the airline (and industry) at the time.

Old mate may have simply found he was not a good fit for the new performance culture.
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Old 29th Jul 2022, 06:32
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Originally Posted by wombat watcher View Post
Are you sure?
The inaugural Chief Pilot was an ex Ansett pilot ,Indeed, he was the Ansett VP in the AFAP in the 1989 dispute.
Indeed the first CP was ex-Ansett, but he sure as hell made sure other Ansett pilots weren’t employed. Spineless turncoat. I know a lot more information first hand, including information that came directly from the office of the inaugural HR manager and several other members of Godfrey’s boys club, but I will decline to comment about that publicly for legal reasons. Suffice to say there are many stories told at the odd pissup of former AN, ANZ and other airlines. But as mentioned, the toxicity commenced very early in the peace. So yes, one or two ex-AN have gotten through, but less than 1%.

Branson sold the public and the staff his fluffy nice guy/just here to make aviation fun and fair bullshit and people swallowed it hook, line and sinker. VB staff, and then VA, climbed over each other to rise through the ranks. Nothing has changed over the past 2 decades, if anything it has gotten worse.

Make no bones about it, JH is there to build up the company on behalf of her Wall Street masters and then flog the lemon on the sharemarket, again. Her take will be huge and she will then ride off into the sunset with tens of millions in the bank. It’s been done before. Remember the initial float of VA, while loyalist staff worked for peanuts and the airline owned no assets they floated the lemon and Branson made around $960m, Godfrey and Sherrard made close to $100m each and other members of the boys club made anywhere between $1m and $10m. not a bad little earner ey? When it is floated again JH won’t have to work for a very long time. That’s the thing about the Wall Street white shoe brigade, they always take a big chunk of coin while the peasants fight over the carcass.

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Old 29th Jul 2022, 07:15
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Originally Posted by Paragraph377 View Post
Make no bones about it, JH is there to build up the company on behalf of her Wall Street masters and then flog the lemon on the sharemarket, again. Her take will be huge and she will then ride off into the sunset with tens of millions in the bank.
Whilst making rank and file employees feel bad they dared to ask for a 2% pay rise……
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Old 29th Jul 2022, 07:54
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Originally Posted by Chronic Snoozer View Post
Whilst making rank and file employees feel bad they dared to ask for a 2% pay rise……
Whilst flight crew got a 20% pay cut. Nice.
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Old 29th Jul 2022, 08:41
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That will hopefully change if the union grows a back bone.
There's been no better time in history to be fighting for a pay rise. There are labour shortages all around and there are plenty of pilot jobs around. Come EBA time VA pilots should be fighting for that 20% pay cut back plus inflation over the last few years. It should be a significant pay bump to get them back to where they should be. I imagine industrial action will be well and truly on the cards for the pilots to get what they want.
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Old 29th Jul 2022, 10:30
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Originally Posted by Red69 View Post
That will hopefully change if the union grows a back bone.
There's been no better time in history to be fighting for a pay rise. There are labour shortages all around and there are plenty of pilot jobs around. Come EBA time VA pilots should be fighting for that 20% pay cut back plus inflation over the last few years. It should be a significant pay bump to get them back to where they should be. I imagine industrial action will be well and truly on the cards for the pilots to get what they want.
Now that 9 years of Liberal mayhem has ended hopefully there will be a slowdown in the stripping away of workers rights, wages, penalties and conditions. Don’t get me wrong, both Liberals and Labor have a lot to answer for, but the Liberals have murdered the lower class and the middle class.
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Old 29th Jul 2022, 14:03
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Originally Posted by Sunfish View Post
Having personally been bullied by a senior female manager, I can attest that the activity is no laughing matter. Women managers do it very subtly through “social bullying” -something they learn, I think, as teenage girls.

‘’Virgins defence sounds plausible on the surface unless you have actually experienced social bullying. It includes a whole series of actions, each in itself apparently trivial, but in totality they produce a devastating result. I do not know if Virgin did any of the things I list below.

‘Examples of tactics:

- whispering campaigns about a persons personal life. (eg: rumors about alcohol use, domestic violence, sexual behaviour , etc)

- “accidental” (not) omission from invitation lists for work related social functions. ( wait till you see your boss take several of your subordinates to lunch without inviting you, etc)

- curtailment of your company representation role at industry seminars, meetings, etc.

- Gaslighting.

- deliberate sabotage of your operational role. (eg/; delays in accessing reports, budgets and other necessary documents)

- “accidental” omission from meeting invitations, distribution lists, etc., followed by blaming you for being “out of touch” with operations.

- unreasonable work related demands, such as impossible reporting deadlines.

​​​​​​…….Those are just a few “mean girl” tactics I and others, have experienced in another industry. They all sound trivial and plausibly deniable by the company if they are taken individually. However humans are very good at discerning patterns of behavior. Your subordinates will know you are marked for removal before you do.

‘’It’s not hard to end up with PTSD from this behaviour.
Sunfish, I too have been a recipient but from an all male show. In my case, I demonstrably in any objective manner, outperformed every other manager and arguably had more support and respect of my subordinates than any of the others that did the bullying and gas-lighting. The senior manager even interviewed my staff in groups to gain 'intelligence' so he could 'help me' - he ended up with egg on his face as there was absolutely nothing that was shared by my people other than general frustrations which they indicated were not down to me, but him and the rest of management.

This person also ambushed several of my direct reports and tried to get some sort of dirt on me. It netted him nothing but he painted it to me as they had come to him of their own volition without any encouragement. When I was confronted with this I asked him "Such as what??". He couldn't come up with one single problem they allegedly highlighted. So I threw a subject in that I knew they didn't blame me for but was a corporate failure and he grabbed it with both hands and said "Oh, Yes, That's right, that was one thing".

When I confronted him months later with this little escapade (as none of the URGENT followup he indicated ever took place, he just quietly dropped the whole thing) he said "I was trying to help" and I said "No, you were trying to set me up".

There's so much more but I think I had reached the point where I wanted out anyway so I used the exercise to completely and utterly dismantle him and any points he raised. As for my peers, one of them accused me of stopping him from 'achieving greatness' to which I replied that this attitude was pretty rich coming from someone, I reminded him who my department had not only met all of its targets but had spent time preparing a training session for his staff to expand their understanding to which he had dismissively replied "It's a waste of time, they can't understand it". (yes, denigrating the intelligence of his own people).

Add to this, constantly talking over me at meetings, interrupting, undermining, doing nothing then trying to shift blame. Using every weasel word management-speak BS expression to try and gaslight me into doubting myself.

Unfortunately I'd been around too long and run into and put in their place, the full range of narcissists, sociopaths and no-hopers in my career.

I won't say it wasn't stressful, but my response to it was to channel that stress into smart, cutting and confronting responses that exposed their bastardry.

Imagine my surprise when I was invited to a meeting with 5 minutes notice to discuss a restructure. When I was handed the proposed structure I had to bite my lip not to laugh when it - surprise surprise - excluded my position.

When the final decision was made, they tried to sit and run through how great the new structure was going to be and I just looked at my manager and said "With all due respect, my reading of the situation is that I am now out of a job and redundant, so the structure is not in my immediate field of view nor in any way relevant to my future, therefore, I'd just as soon ask that you keep it to yourself (then, turning to the HR Rep I continued) How much and when does it get paid??". She explained the numbers and I said "OK, thanks. I'll get back to work".

I then proceeded to conduct myself in a thoroughly professional manner for my last 4 weeks. This, despite the pretenders and frankly, MBA-type 'nappy rashes' they were pretending had sufficient knowledge and could easily fill the gap, spending all of their time in my department 'learning the ropes' (an admission they had ZERO idea) with some of my direct reports saying to me "Do these people have no shame, it's like you just died and their arguing over which part of your grave they want".

There was one enjoyable part in all this and it was patiently waiting and observing how long it took my so-called 'colleagues' to crawl out of their snake pit and summon enough guts to talk to me. One of them said "I'm sorry" to which I replied "Sorry for what". Response was "Oh, I just worry about your kids". I then looked him in the eye and said "My kids are fine. They have two parents who love them. Please, do NOT waste a nano-second of emotional energy worrying about me, I am absolutely fine. I used to bill $2000 per day as a consultant (bravado I admit) and I am perfectly fine." Don't waste your time on me.

I was so cool and calculated in my tone and body language they didn't know where to look. One by one it was enjoyable to watch them squirm.

I've been in the industry 40 years and that was the most disgusting, disrespectful, infantile and incompetent act I've ever seen by a manager who talked the good show but when it came down to it was influenced by the mob and utterly incapable of separating genuine intent from manipulation. He didn't last long afterward which is really funny because if he'd acted differently, the entire organisation would have been better for it.

Many of the staff in my department left the company, a number stating in their exit interview that it was because they didn't want to work for a company that treated people the way they treated me.

I walked out with my head held high. I never bagged anyone behind their backs but told some of them to their face what the reality was.

The worst of them got promoted after I left and still pathetically clings on to any way to keep a job to this day - he reminds me of the old Keating line of "dragging and scraping his carcass around and fusing it to whomever can keep him from having to join the unemployed" because the person I'm talking about knows that trolley pusher is about what they'd get in the open market.

It's only because I come from a line of strong leaders in my ancestry, including a father who had more integrity and guts than anyone I've ever known and a GF and Great GF who were both in law enforcement that I was able to weather the anxiety and stress.

I walked away with more of their money than had I resigned and I walked away with my reputation intact and the ability to sleep at night because I also looked after and entrenched the good people that I know 'they' would have destroyed after I exited.

Last edited by AerialPerspective; 29th Jul 2022 at 14:22.
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Old 29th Jul 2022, 14:27
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Originally Posted by Paragraph377 View Post
Now that 9 years of Liberal mayhem has ended hopefully there will be a slowdown in the stripping away of workers rights, wages, penalties and conditions. Don’t get me wrong, both Liberals and Labor have a lot to answer for, but the Liberals have murdered the lower class and the middle class.
I used to try and be balanced in politics but the Liberals have completely shit their nest as far as I'm concerned. My family used to vote Liberal many years ago but never again.

The best thing that could happen for this country at this point is for the Liberal Party to disappear back under the rock from which, in it's current form, it has emerged from and die a natural death, let the Nationals return to the agrarian snobs they always were and bring on the Teal Party and the New Liberals to provide a counterweight to Labor and the Greens. Hopefully that way we can go back to a place where general competence prevails even though the political cycle may deliver results that move between classical liberalism and social progressiveness.

What we have now is an ALP which, probably in the interests of survival for a better day ahead has been a bit me-too when it came to national security BS and a Liberal Party that is out and out corrupt and for which there is no line of decency that they won't cross. Thus, they need to be executed as a political force and let's go back to progressives and small 'L' liberals.
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Old 29th Jul 2022, 14:31
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Originally Posted by Paragraph377 View Post
Virgin has always had a fear of hiring ex-Ansett staff. They did it from day 1 of operation and tried to avoid hiring pilots, cabin crew and ground staff. The Virgin culture became toxic early in its life as an airline and it sounds like that is still the case.
And as a result (not only Ansett, by the way, Qantas and TN as well) their operation is a joke, largely directed by kids virtually out of high school and MBA types who populated all the plethora of 'specialist' roles, none of whom were specialists in anything other than BS.
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Old 29th Jul 2022, 22:13
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Aerial perspective + 1.

‘’I’ve had most of that directed at me, including being asked to write a report recommending a dodgy $10 million investment that had the sole purpose of getting my boss a seat on the Board of a venture capital company, something she greatly prized. When I refused my days were numbered. I found out later she went behind my back to get one of my staff to write that recommendation. He refused too.

‘’She cost that business at least $250 million as well as carefully searching through the organization and destroying every pocket of management expertise she found because anyone with expertise was deemed a “threat” to her. Those that left were replaced with (mostly female) incompetent sycophants.

‘’She had an AM and proceeded to wreck more organizations before retiring. I read about the failure of the last business that she chaired only a few weeks ago.

‘’As you said, the most important thing is being able to sleep at night - the “sleep test”.
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Old 30th Jul 2022, 06:06
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Originally Posted by AerialPerspective View Post
And as a result (not only Ansett, by the way, Qantas and TN as well) their operation is a joke, largely directed by kids virtually out of high school and MBA types who populated all the plethora of 'specialist' roles, none of whom were specialists in anything other than BS.
What makes you think VA has a monopoly on ‘MBA types’? Not even close.

Does it surprise you? They are smart, think alike, are commercially savvy, work as a team and can communicate incredibly effectively.

Sadly the reality is that the days of people with deep operational experience running airlines are long gone.
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Old 30th Jul 2022, 07:46
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Originally Posted by nonsense View Post
That alone tells you something about the organisation concerned; redundancy is what happens when the job ceases to exist and the person becomes redundant.
If as you describe apparently everyone knew there would be a replacement then that's not a legitimate redundancy.
i never said everyone knew, just that the comments were a commentary on the person they'd just got rid of - saying that hopefully the next person will be interested in the job and achieving something and not spending their entire time feathering their own nest and preparing for their next move. They meant, I think, whatever role popped up with similar responsibilities. I'm not entirely sure that the person wasn't dispensed with for organising a job with a competitor on company time, but that's only hearsay.
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Old 30th Jul 2022, 07:47
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Originally Posted by Jack D. Ripper View Post
What makes you think VA has a monopoly on ‘MBA types’? Not even close.

Does it surprise you? They are smart, think alike, are commercially savvy, work as a team and can communicate incredibly effectively.

Sadly the reality is that the days of people with deep operational experience running airlines are long gone.
Did I say anywhere that I confined my comments to VA?? Although the thread is about Virgin Australia, so why other companies are being brought into it is beyond me.

I agree though, it's ALL of industry now, not just aviation.
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