Why do PGS Human Resources (HR) and Legal Personal Data Processors Refuse to Answer Simple Questions?
I am a USA citizen who was sponsored on a Tier 2 visa, shortage occupation list basis, along with my wife and dependent children, to work with PGS Exploration UK Limited, 4 The Heights, Brooklands, Weybridge, England, KT13 0NY (PGSUK). I was officially employed by PGSUK from 26 September 2010 through 31 December 2013. Paperwork to renew my visa was submitted 15 July 2013. We all lived in Weybridge, England, during this time.
My employment terminated through a settlement contract agreement which was proffered to me following my submitting a workplace grievance on 20 September 2013. The grievance specifically cited misconduct and non-compliant behavior and actions by my first line supervisor, Edward von Abendorff, Vice-President, Marine Contract Sales – Africa, his boss, Simon Cather, Marine Contract Regional President – Africa, and David Nicholson, Human Resources Manager.
In October 2014, I submitted a subject access request (SAR), citing the UK Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) to receive copies of personal data which PGSUK was processing in my name. When I received my “personal data” from PGSUK, I noted multiple problems, especially with the documents residing within my professional personnel file. The documents bore no counter-signature and were factually incorrect. Most obvious, was the reference to a 11 September 2013 meeting date, which was referenced in two separate documents. The 11 September 2013 meeting never happened.The 11 September 2013 meeting was rescheduled for 20 September 2013, the day which I delivered my grievance to the first line supervisors of the subjects identified within the grievance. The superiors were executives of Norwegian parent company, Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS). Cather reported to Per Arild Reksnes, Executive Vice-President, Marine Contract and Nicholson reported to Terje Bjølseth, Senior Vice-President, Global Human Resources. John Greenway, Senior Vice-President was also copied, along with my work colleague, John Barnard, who was my witness.
Employees who are terminated by a settlement agreement contract need to receive qualified legal advice before signing. I engaged solicitor Philip Landau with the London legal firm Landau, Zeffertt and Weir (LZW). LZW had also been made aware of the change in meeting time. The meeting had been referenced from a letter delivered to me on 24 July 2013, which was the memorialized basis for my submitting a grievance. However, the grievance document also referenced a 13 July 2013 meeting which I was called to without any warning. Following the 13 July 2013 “ambush meeting”, I requested minutes of the meeting, how the meeting comported to PGSUK internal policy and UK employment law, and queried about submitting a workplace grievance. As the grievance document clearly states, I never received these minutes of the meeting. I was also never informed as to how the ambush meeting comported to PGSUK internal policy and UK employment law. The ambush meeting was a very distressing event in my life.
Based on the contents received through my SAR, I now believe that the settlement contract agreement is not a legal instrument. I believe that it was necessary for LZW to be complicit in processing the illegal settlement contract agreement. Settlement contracts are very binding and are designed to make future claims virtually impossible. This is the reason that it has been so difficult to compel changes, or find redress.. In late 2014, I had identified many of the same problems which I identify today and publish about. However, in 2014, I did not suspect that LZW had helped advance the defamatory personal data residing within my personnel file. Further, most electronic (email) data received through the SAR does not mention the points raised within the grievance document, but are mostly about the review of the settlement contract agreement. PGSUK also engaged law firm Watson, Farley, and Williams (WFW) to represent them during the settlement agreement contract negotiation process. This means that three (3) different data controllers all processed knowingly inaccurate personal data, as proven by the reference to the 11 September 2013 meeting which never happened. It is this concerted and determined conspiracy of actors which have prohibited redress and denied me my human rights. I believe that I was the victim / target of an orchestrated confidence fraud. My being a foreign worker likely was a factor in selecting me.
I have known since late 2014 that something very wrong had happened. However, in 2014 I had not fully processed all of the information and understood the extent of what happened to me. On 5 December 2014, 6 (7) December 2014, and 20 December 2014, I wrote complaint e-mails to PGSUK. However, it should be noted that Nicholson, who had been a principal subject of my grievance citing misconduct (bullying and harassment), the mismanagement of the employee performance management system, and the dissemination of defamatory information about me, was also the main data processor for the SAR submitted in 2014. Nicholson wrote a 22 December 2014 letter on behalf of PGSUK essentially telling me to accept the personal data processing or “shut up.” PGSUK also threatened legal action if I continued my pursuit for the truth and the reinstatement of an accurate recounting of my employment history with PGSUK. The 22 December 2014 letter specifically mentions the three fore-mentioned e-mails. True to form, there were no timely responses to the 5 December 2014 email, and this was why the 6(7) and 20 December 2014 emails needed to be written.
The directors of PGSUK, relevant to my grievance and subsequent settlement agreement contract were: John Erik Reinhardsen, Gottfred Langseth, Christin Steen-Nilsen, and secretary, Carl Richards. While the 22 December 2014 letter was signed by Nicholson, it was written and sent on behalf of PGSUK and its directors/secretary who allowed Nicholson to be so involved in processing my personal data, in spite of the documented problems in his doing so.
The 22 December 2014 letter:
The 6 December 2014 e-mail referenced within this letter is dated 7 December 2014 in my records and is part of this article. I was in Houston, Texas, USA when the contents from my subject access request (SAR) was received.
The list of people provided within the 22 December 2014 letter does not make sense to me. These are all human resources personnel, except for Simon Cather. My first line supervisor, Edward von Abendorff is not listed. Cather was Marine Contract Regional President – Africa and was von Abendorff’s boss. But, I did not report directly to Cather and he would not have assessed my performance from the standpoint of a first line supervisor.
As stated previously, von Abendorff, Cather, and Nicholson, were all named subjects within the submitted 20 September 2013 grievance document. I received no direct communications from Reksnes, and more notably, Bjølseth. Nicholson continued coordinating the grievance procedure as though he had never been named in the contents of the grievance. A grievance hearing was scheduled for 14 October 2013. However, on 10 October 2013, Nicholson proffered me a settlement contract agreement so that I would forego my legal right under employment contract to submit a grievance. I now believe that this proffering was another breach in my employment contract.
I first initiated contact with Landau on 11 October 2013. I was curious about the situation and being proffered a settlement contract agreement to interrupt the grievance procedure outlined within the UK Personnel Policy Handbook (2013). Landau was provided with a copy of the grievance document with the names redacted. Landau was also provided information regarding the advance proffering of the settlement agreement contract before the scheduled 14 October 2014 grievance hearing. Landau never asked about or mentioned anything about the PGSUK grievance procedure and recommended an enhanced settlement contract agreement. I now believe that Landau was compromised early on and that is why he did not ask more about or recommend that I follow the prescribed grievance procedures.
The grievance hearing was chaired by Terje Bjølseth, PGS Senior Vice President Global Human Resource, and Per Arild Reksnes, Executive Vice President Marine Contract (at the time), They didn’t view the personnel file? Also, my employment was terminated through a settlement contract. I had been told by Nicholson that lawyers from both the UK/London office and Oslo office had read the grievance and decided to offer the settlement contract agreement because I was “in dispute with the Company.” No lawyers of PGSUK/PGS processed my personnel file? Landau never processed the contents of my personnel file? And WFW, who eventually would represent PGSUK in settlement negotiations never processed my personnel file data?
By engaging Landau, I did not believe that I would need to learn about employment law in another country. However, the gov.uk website states that if the grievance procedure is included in the employment contract, then employers must follow those procedures or otherwise be in breach of the original employment contract. Grievance procedure was part of my employment contract. So, why did all the lawyers – experiences UK employment law lawyers – allow processing the settlement contract agreement? This is yet another reason why I believe the settlement contract agreement eventually signed by me is not a legal instrument.
The 5, 7 and 20 December e-mails written by me point out many factual dependencies between true events and the data that PGS Exploration UK Limited is processing in my name. During the settlement contract agreement negotiations, I had requested that all derogatory and defamatory data being processed to be expunged – removed – from my personnel file. I was especially concerned by content authored by any of the three subjects of my grievance: von Abendorff, Cather, and Nicholson. The response to this request is held in a 4 December 2013 e-mail from WFW lawyer, Rhodri Thomas, that was forwarded to me by Landau, and is clear:
“This amendment is not acceptable. PGS’s personnel records are its property and must naturally give an accurate record of all employees’ employment history, it will not agree to redact or amend these in any way.”
However, when I discovered inaccurate defamatory personal data being processed within my personnel file data, Nicholson included within the 22 December 2014 letter:
“Instead, a copy of your email of 5 December has been placed on your personnel file (and is held also in our email and document database), and the points you have raised about the data we hold are accordingly held together with your other personal data.”
We regard this as a satisfactory and proportionate approach to our obligation to ensure that personal data held about you is accurate.”
The 22 December 2014 letter contradicts the 4 December 2013 email that states that PGSUK will not alter the data in any way. This e-mail was approved by my legal adviser, PGSUK, and their legal adviser – three different data controllers. However, PGSUK (“We regard …”) agrees to amend the personnel file data as a proportionate approach to our obligation to ensure that personal data held about me is accurate. In other words, PGSUK is acknowledging that the personal data processed for the settlement contract agreement was not accurate. So, how can the settlement contract agreement be a legal instrument if it was processed using inaccurate data?
It should be noted that LZW (Landau / Rushton) was formerly engaged 22 October 2013. The 25 October 2013 Memo, which I regard as a forgery, was created when LZW was engaged as MY legal adviser. The 25 October 2013 Memo is very important. The Memo is never mentioned in email communications between me and LZW. Further, the contents establishes that my termination was due to defamatory performance based reasons, and that I was not a target of health harming gang-bullying. This is significant, and that is why I cannot breath well until the issue is truly resolved. This is another indication that I was the target of a confidence fraud carried out by the conspiracy of three different data controllers.
When I submitted the SAR in 2014, I had no way of knowing that so many questions would be raised. I could not have conceived that the legal adviser I hired would be compromised. All I knew, is that I identified inaccurate defamatory data being processed by PGSUK when I shouldn’t have. The other tell-tale sign is that none of the documents in my personnel file bare no counter-signature. I have not signed any of the documents which I have requested removed. What kind of lawyers or HR professionals would process such documents?
The reason that PGSUKs response to my more recent 2018 SAR citing the General Data Protection Requirement is inadequate is because they have never really answered the questions raised within the 2014 SAR contents provided to me. In 2014, I had not had the opportunity to even conceive of being a victim of a fraud like this. But, in 2018, I have connected more dots that have raised more questions. I was hoping that the appointment of a new PGS Data Protection Officer and a new PGSUK Head of Legal would help me get some of the many questions finally answered. I was wrong.
Instead, PGSUK directors have are hunting down a whistle blower who lives in Thailand. They have given a Thai lawyer power of attorney. Is this even legal? And is the Thai lawyer allowed to pursue protected public disclosures in Thailand outside the scope of the prescribed Confidentiality provisions contained within the PGSUK Policy Handbook. Aren’t PGSUK directors fiduciary duty to INVESTIGATE whistleblowing claims? I am scheduled to appear in Thai criminal court 29 October 2018. The PGSUK directors want me to go to jail so that they will not have to answer serious questions regarding their decisions, actions, and behaviors. Please stop them.
Thank you for your consideration,