Marine Seismic Survey

Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration News and Posts

Tag: 4D

Workplace Mobbing is Psychological Terrorism

No one deserves to be terrorized for any reason. In the workplace, mobbing is emotional and psychological terrorism deliberately inflicted on an individual with the express purpose of destroying that person emotionally, psychologically, physically, and professionally.

VALERIE ROBINS , WORKPLACE BULLYING: MOBBING IS EMOTIONAL & PSYCHOLOGICAL TERRORISM

Mobbing can only persist as long as it is allowed to persist. Organizational leadership plays the most important part in its prevention. By enforcing decency, civility, and high ethical standards in the workplace and by creating a nourishing environment, bullying and mobbing will not surface.

NOA ZANOLLI,

Extortion occurs when someone attempts to obtain money or property by threatening to commit violence, accuse the victim of a crime, or reveal private or damaging information about the victim.

Letter to PGS Board of Directors never Acknowledged nor Responded to. Responsible?

Open Letter to Petroleum Geo-Services ASA Board of Directors (18-Jun-2017)

Excerpt from Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS) UK affilate, PGS UK Office Personnel Handbook (2013 Edition). Note that the document was prepared by DN, PGS UK Human Resources Manager, David Nicholson and Authorized by TB, PGS SVP Global Human Resources, Terje Bjølseth. I submitted a workplace grievance to TB (et al.) claiming workplace bullying and professional misconduct perpetrated by DN. PGSUK ignored and denied all of my protections and provisions of the PGS UK Office Personnel Handbook (2013 Edition) and UK labor & contract law in their mobbing campaign and acted with arbitrary caprice in protecting unethical and illegal executive behaviors,

Overall, our predictions regarding the correlations between the Dark Triad and bullying were supported. Psychopathy was the most strongly related to bullying, followed by Machiavellianism, and narcissism

RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN BULLYING BEHAVIOURS AND THE DARK TRIAD: A STUDY WITH ADULTS

DEMAND UK, NORWAY, & USA LAW ENFORCEMENT INVESTIGATION of PGS Executives: Rune Olav Pedersen, Gottfred Langseth, Per Arild Reksnes, Nathan Oliver and Berit Osnes.

In September 2018 Directors of PGS’ UK affiliate perpetrated extortion to silence protected public disclosure misusing the Thailand criminal justice system to take down nopgs.com (where the IP address was registered).  For over three years of publishing evidence of PGS executive corruption, fraud and wrong-doing, Rune Olav Pedersen and Gottfred Langseth breached Norwegian and UK whistleblower protection laws.  The evidence which was posted on nopgs.com showed PGS defrauding UK and Norwegian government agencies through knowingly processing defamatory false instruments created to destroy the professional life and reputation of a foreign worker whistleblower.  Pedersen and Langseth oversaw the mobbing, bribery, embezzlement, and fraud carried out to destroy a USA citizen whistleblower.  This fake data was illegally shared with UK national PGSUSA executives in violation of the UK Data Protection Act 1998. PGSUSA operatives knew the data was non-compliant / illegal and created to retaliate and blacklist the USA citizen. PGS also lied and claimed data was processed by a PGSUK agent, but this agent was sponsored on a USA H1B visa. I believe this violates the H1B visa provisions and otherwise made them complicit in the conspiracy to defraud and illegal mobbing, harassment, and retaliation behaviors perpetrated against a USA citizen. PGS board of directors and compliance team have foremost breached their fiduciary duties through their continuum of lies and silence.
EVP Per Arild Reknes signed defamatory false instruments processed to protect criminals from culpability.  Berit Osnes has been directly involved in perverting the course of justice since 2016, and otherwise abrogated her fiduciary duties under the Norwegian Code of Practice, as a representative board member.  Workplace Mobbing is psychological terrorism.  Perpetrators of violent abuse, fraud, bribery, embezzlement, and extortion must be held accountable for the health and safety of workers. The Norwegian corporate governance system is dysfunctional and corrupt. Former PGS CEO & President, Jon Erik Reinhardsen was also a principal in these alleged crimes. Even though several articles were published denouncing and accusing him of crimes directly, there was no investigation. Reinhardsen is now the Chairman of the Board for Norway’s largest company, Equinor. Reinhardsen was never investigated, nor has he ever publicly denounced or denied the publication alleging criminal acts by him or his cohorts. He never publicly defended those accused of corruption.     

5 Secrets To Spot You’re About To Be Mobbed At Work

Narcissistic Boss or Employer: Coping and Survival Tactics

https://mclip.tv/video/3_YdgSy77xY/narcissistic-boss-or-employer-coping-and-survival-tactics


https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/hr-pills/workplace-bullying-mobbing-GtfZ3AmYEs-/

https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/hr-pills/workplace-bullying-mobbing-GtfZ3AmYEs-/

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/recovering-narcissist/2019/03/7-gaslighting-phrases-malignant-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-translated/

The most dangerous culprits of gaslighting? Malignant narcissists, who, by default, use gaslighting as a strategy to undermine the perception of their victims in order to evade accountability for their abuse. 

Shahida Arabi, Bestselling Author 

Submitting Grievances and Whistleblowing as a Foreign Worker -Part 2

Submitting Grievances and Whistleblowing as a Foreign Worker – Part 2 The Psychological Terrorism of my 9-11

Psychological terrorism is the deliberate targeting of an individual in a way that leaves no physical scars but leaves psychological injuries or trauma that have long-lasting impact.

Valerie Robins , WORKPLACE BULLYING: MOBBING IS EMOTIONAL & PSYCHOLOGICAL TERRORISM

Discrimination, bullying or harassment of any kind will not be tolerated by the Company and all allegations of such behaviour will be dealt with seriously, confidentially and speedily.

PGS UK OFFICE PERSONNEL HANDBOOK (2013) [PREPARED: DN – AUTHORIZED: TB

Within a previous MarineSeismicSurvey (MSS) blog  post article, Submitting Grievances and Whistleblowing as a Foreign Worker – Part One: The Ambush Meeting (Part 1), the 24 July 201 Ambush Letter (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3), was discussed. The 24 July 201 Ambush Letter scheduled another meeting for 11 September 2013.  Of all the dates to choose to eliminate the American (USA) foreign worker, 9-11 was chosen as a meeting date with all its emotional symbolism.  Minutes from the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting had been requested right after the event.  These were denied, but I pressed for something firm in writing. That was how the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter came about. Almost six-weeks following the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting, a letter was finally delivered to me.  What was never answered in the interim or within the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter was how the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting conformed to PGS Exploration UK Limited, 4 The Heights, Brooklands, Weybridge, England, KT13 0NY (PGSUK) policy, procedures, and of course contract and employment law.  The 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter actually raised similar concerns once it was received. 

The copy of the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter scanned and referenced in this article was received through my submitting a subject access request (SAR) citing the UK Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) in October 2014.  PGSUK personal data processors within the human resources (HR) group are processing this 24 July 201 Ambush Letter.  Unfortunately, there are many problems with the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter. It would serve as the impetus for my submitting a lengthy workplace grievancee on 20 September 2013.  However, the most immediately visible problem with the 24 July 201 Ambush Letter when I received it as part of my official PGSUK personel file documentation is that the mentioned scheduled 11 September 2013 (my 9-11) meeting actually never happened!  The same HR manager who hosted the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting of questionable propriety and intentionally withheld the requested meeting minutes from me, also prevented the submission of a grievance soon after the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting, and also cancelled and rescheduled the 11 September 2013 to 20 September 2013, as the 18 September 2013 e-mail indicates. The same HR Manager was now overseeing my SAR a year later. I did submit a 20 September 2013 formal grievance , but this documet is not being processed within my PGSUK personnel file records. However, it is mentioned and referenced within the 5 December 2013 settlement contract agreement (SCA), which when signed terminated my career with Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS). PGS’ HR subsequent processing of defamatory fake data is a sinister form of blacklisting. Both are not compliant nor legal acts, but were the coordinated endeavor of the corrupt and evil PGS legal compliance. The 11 September 2013 meeting that never happened is also referenced in another significant document being processed by PGS / PGSUK, but the date is not even mentioned within the SCA!

The new question was, how did the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter conform to PGSUK policy and procedures? Within the pages of the submitted 20 September 2013 formal grievance, I had made the case that the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter and 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting did not conform to PGSUK policy and procedure or UK contract and employment law. The 20 September 2013 formal grievance had focused on the propriety and the participants of the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting as well as countering the unsubstantiated claims made within the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter, since I never had received minutes from the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting. (This point was made within the 20 September 2013 formal grievance, as well.) I was also astonished to discover a version of minutes for the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting was also being processed within my official PGSUK personnel file. My truthful professional reputation was assasinated on 11 September 2013, an event that never happened to me in reality, but exists as the most significant date within my professional official work history with PGS. How is this possible? The 11 September 2013 date has consumed me. PGS / PGSUK processing fake data makes it clear to me that the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting. and 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter were not legal or compliant to PGSUK policy and procedure or UK employment and contract law. For some time, I have believed, and collected evidence showing, that I was a victim of a conspiracy to defraud, on top of being a target of severe workplace gang-bullying (mobbing). I have been on a writing campaign for justice since discovering this. However, it is a very difficult endeavor to confront corrupt power and money, especially when so many “professionals” from different companies participated in the alleged crimes against me and my family. Overcoming the banality of corruption and incivility is difficult, especially when those entrusted with corporate governance are the principal perpetrators and facilitators of the crimes.

Make no mistake. Gaslighting is not about love or concern. It’s about power and control. A gaslighter is someone who needs to feel superior and who manipulates people to further their own agendas.

Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., 7 Ways to Extinguish Gaslighting

Trust yourself. Recognize what they are doing and stay calm. If you know your case, preserved your record, and know why you’re in court today, you are armed. You will correct the record as appropriate and return focus to the important issues for the court and your case. You have prepared and you know what you are doing.

Alyson A. Foster, Gaslighting in Litigation

The 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter was written on behalf of PGSUK and states that its creation was necessary since I had related that I wanted to pursue the matter officially. To me, this meant according to PGSUK policy, procedures, as well as employment (Tier 2 visa) law and contract law.  The 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter did not address my simple queries.  At the same time, I was helpless to steer events.  It seems that there were two avenues which could have been pursued, based on the PGS UK Office Policy Handbook (PGSUK Handbook).  These were to either follow the PGSUK Handbook grievance procedures or the disciplinary procedures. These would have been the anticipated official routes to be followed.  As was pointed out in Part 1, when disciplinary and grievance matters are related, as was the case here, according to ACAS, the matters can be resolved together.  The 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter also indicated that I would have the opportunity to respond with my case and supporting documentation.  The 20 September 2013 formal grievance, which is not being processed by PGS / PGSUK HR, was my response and contained substantive information countering the claims made during the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting and subsequent 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter. But, it is not being processed.

The 20 September 2013 formal grievance was never processed according to the PGSUK Handbook procedures. PGS / PGSUK had denied me my legal right to follow the grievance process. How was this permitted? With the assistance of my compromised counsel, Philip Landau of LZW Solicitos and Watson, Farley and Williams (WFW), representing PGSUK, I was gaslighted into negotiating an SCA predicated on performance. I challenge all PGS / PGSUK, LWZ Solicitors, and WFW legal and HR professionals involved in my SCA termination to show otherwise that the process was compliant and legal. I quite frankly could not figure out what was happenning at the time and why all my queries seemed to fall on deaf ears. I never really believed that the process was being carried out correctly, but was being fed misrepresentations from all sides. (WFW had also recently processed my Tier 2 visa leave to remain.) I made countless queries during the negotiations that went unanswered because I had no legal representation. My hired solicitor, Landau, I allege, was complicit in the conspiracy to defraud. This is what I have reported to UK ActionFraud (police). I have also compiled the numerous e-mail communications that confirm that my solicitor was aware of the 11 September 2013 to 20 September 2013 meeting change. Landau knew that I was a USA citizen and had also received a copy of the 20 September 2013 formal grievance, a copy of the PGSUK Handbook, and PGS Core Values. As my legal counsel, these factual discrepencies should have been noted. However, what especially should have been noted was that my legal right to file a grievance was adhered to. It was not. Instead, false instruments were processed that supported a corrupt disciplinary process used to illegally terminate a whistleblower.

The PGSUK HR Manager was aware that the response to the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter (and 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting) would be in the form of a formal grievance prior to the 11 September 2013 scheduled meeting.  Therefore, the PGSUK directors and secretary would have known this as well.  What is also important to note is that there was a change of PGSUK secretary 13 September 2013.  On 13 September 2013 Candida Pinto resigned as PGSUK secretary and Carl Richards, then PGSUK Head of Legal, assumed the role of secretary and the responsibility that the procedures had been and were being carried out legally and in accordance to the PGSUK Handbook and the laws of England.  The PGSUK Handbook actually does cover issues regarding foreign workers with visas. The PGSUK Handbook also states PGSUK grievance and disciplinary procedures.  Any official route should have implicitly followed PGS Core Values and PGS Code of Conduct, which are referenced in the PGSUK Handbook. Nicholson continued to be the main driver of the process even though he was directly implicated in misconduct and bullying through hosting the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting. Neither Pinto nor Richards ever contacted me before or following the 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter. Within the 20 September 2013 formal grievance it was my belief that my nationality and Tier 2 visa status had elevated the destructive behaviors to harassment of a protected class, or illegal harassment. My Tier 2 visa status was a very important consideration which seemed to be ignored.

Indeed, most of those surveyed for the report identified employer retaliation and not being taken seriously as the most common barriers to taking complaints to employers

Muneeza Sheikh, Workplace is wrong venue to address
harassment

First, his silence may be taken as consent to whatever has been said to him, as an implied admission. This inference arises where a denial would be expected if the statement was false. Here silence operates rather like a nod; it is as if the party did not think it worth while lasting words in assenting to what he and the speaker know is obvious.

J. D. HEYDON, SILENCE AS EVIDENCE
2013 PGS Exploration UK Limited Directors and Secretary before 13 September 2013: Director Jon Erik Reinhardsen, President & CEO of PGS; Director Gottfred Langseth, PGS CFO & EVP; Christin Steen-Nilsen, PGS Chief Accountant; Secretary Candida Pinto, PGSUK Lawyer
2013 PGS Exploration UK Limited Directors and Secretary after 13 September 2013: Director Jon Erik Reinhardsen, President & CEO of PGS; Director Gottfred Langseth, PGS CFO & EVP; Christin Steen-Nilsen, PGS Chief Accountant; Secretary Carl Richards, PGSUK Lawyer/Head of Legal

Subsequent debates have argued the fine print over whether these individuals are actually psychopaths, or sociopaths, or have another mental disorder, called narcissistic personality disorder. But whatever the name of their conditions, they create chaos.  They have no capacity to see or respect the perspective of others, are completely disrespectful, and many of them prop themselves up with a sadistic addiction to diminishing others.

Jenny Luesby, How Toxic Bosses Destroy Companies

Perpetrators actively, though often covertly, seek to harm others–physically, emotionally, and spiritually, using tactics designed to
injure individuals and create physical and psychological power imbalances.

Burgess, Garbarino, & Carlson, 2006

As the PGSUK Handbook header indicates, Nicholson (DN) prepared the PGSUK Handbook and should be fluent in its contents.  The 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting was hosted by PGSUK HR Manager David Nicholson.  The 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter was also signed by Nicholson, on behalf of PGSUK. In fact, all the documentation relevant to my termination is signed by only Nicholson, the PGSUK HR Manager. Nothing is countersigned by the employee (me) or his supervisor. The exception is a Memo dated 25 October 2013, when Landau was engaged as my solicitor. Nicholson did not sign this Memo, but neither did I. None of these documents are authenticated or substantiated by documentation and are therefore defamatory. I did not work directly for any of the directors, secretary, HR department, or division Executive Vice-President (EVP). The documents relate uncorroborated events, wrong dates, and non-existent documents. They are forgeries. Further, no PGS / PGSUK, WFW, or LZW agent has ever challenged or commented on the allegations that the documents are forgeries in over three-years of protected public disclosure – whistleblowing. No definitive answer nor clarification has ever been provided as to the propriety of 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting  or 24 July 2013 Ambush Meeting following multiple queries, including PGS Compliance.

This lack of transparency seems to violate categorically the principles of the PGS Core Values and PGS Code of Conduct.  Said another way, PGSUK’s official handling of my workplace concerns seems to have been violating my contract of employment on multiple levels.  PGSUK continued to obstruct my ability and right under UK employment law to complain!  My queries were simple and reasonable. They could have been addressed easily. The PGSUK Handbook states that the grievance procedure can be used freely and without prejudice by employees.  The PGSUK Handbook notes the importance of formal and informal lines of communication, especially between the employee and their immediate supervisor.  The grievance procedure discusses provisions where the immediate supervisor is the focus of the grievance or if the employee is uncomfortable discussing the matter with their immediate supervisor.  In this case, the grievance should be raised with the employee’s supervisor’s superior. As for any disciplinary actions, such matters must be fully investigated and focused on a fair resolution.  The 24 July 2013 Ambush Letter stated managements intension to investigate the possibility of  implementating a performance improvement plan.  But, what was the predicate for PGSUK’s directors and secretary intervention prior to any completed investigation or addressing the central concern as to the propriety of the 13 June 2013 Ambush Meeting

These behaviors seem to model the behaviors of workplace harassment, mobbing, and bullying, inclusive of manipulative gaslighting, as described in literature. PGSUK manipulated the processes to force a desired outcome. This included blocking all avenues of legal redress through adopting an official route that is not included within the PGSUK Handbook, or employment and contract law. An official route that involves fraud, forgery, bribery, embezzlement and extortion. Legally guaranteed processes were not permited and choices limited to acheive this nefarious end game. This end game included co-opting a truthful professional narrative with a fabrication of events. This end game included the symbolic elimination of the American from their workforce on my 9-11. It was all psychological terrorism. It involved illegality, the denial of my human rights and rights under contract and employment law, which were all documented within the 20 September 2013 formal grievance. Most troubling is the witnessing of the death of professionalism and civility and the revelation of weak characters that found sadistic pleasure in abusing their power. Many, many PGS / PGSUK employees have been bribed with salaries and job security so they can continue to ignore PGS Core Values and Code of Conduct. PGS / PGSUK is led by misconduct and depravity. PGS’s dumbfounded Norwegian management and board should have thought twice before lodging their despicable terrorist attack on an American focused on justice. Truth is very strong. Poor management is weak and soon runs out of resources. Weak PGS management and board of directors attacked me and my family and now these “leaders” hide from their actions and accountability. Pathetic. Even more pathetic is the employee ranks who allow such depraved leadership to remain unaccountable to a Code of Practice or Responsibility Report and functional corporate governance.

In essence, the psyche constantly returned to scenes of unpleasure because, by restaging the traumatic moment over and over again, it hoped belatedly to process the unassimilable material, to find ways of mastering the trauma retroactively

SIGMUND FReud

Privilege, or immunity, is also a defense against a claim of defamation. Qualified privilege is usually used in cases where the person communicating the statement has a “legal, moral, or social duty to make it….” The person making the statement must show that he or she has made the statement in good faith, believing it to be true and that the statement was made without malice. One example of qualified privilege is the immunity of members of the press from defamation charges for statements made in the press in good faith unless it can be proven that they were made with malice.

Qualified Privilege as a Defense in a Defamation Case

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The Sound of Death?

The Sound of Death?

Whaling was the oil business of its day..

Nathaniel Philbrick

The motive behind criticism often determines its validity. Those who care criticize where necessary. Those who envy criticize the moment they think that they have found a weak spot.

Criss Jami, Killosophy

The objective of marine seismic surveys is not to annoy, harm or kill cetaceans or other marine fauna.  I believe that this is an important consideration.  This was not always the relationship between human energy needs and cetaceans.  Cetaceans, or whales, are divided into two main groups: toothed whales and baleen whales.  From the 16th through the 19th century, whales were principally killed for a source of oil used as fuel in lamps.  Although the relative value of various whale products varied across time and place, whale oil was the principal economic driver of the commercial whaling industry.  The efficient killing and processing of whales was the business objective of the commercial whaling industry.  Technological developments in whaling, such as ship speed, determined which cetaceans could be hunted commercially.  There was a precipitous decline in the use of whale oils from its peak in the 19th century into the 20th century that coincides with the commercial development of the petroleum industry as a source of fuel oil and manufacturing products.  Perhaps the petroleum industry saved the lives of thousands of cetaceans and prevented the extinction of several species?  What is known is that as the source of the commodity of whale oil began to deplete, technologies to improve hunting success, as well as incentives to replace the fuel both grew. 

The objective of marine seismic surveys is to create maps of the geology to guide oil and gas drilling operations.  Seismic reflection data is used to produce these maps.  The seismic reflection method requires introducing a controlled seismic energy source into the Earth.  Each layer within the Earth reflects a portion of the wave’s energy back and allows the rest to refract through.  In the marine environment, the these reflected compressional energy waves, or sound waves, are recorded by receivers.  The points being mapped are the midpoints between the source and receiver sensor(s).  In the 1950s, marine seismic research crews would toss boxes of live dynamite off the stern of the vessel. The dynamite would explode about a hundred meters behind the ship.  This was the seismic source.  One of the crew, Stephen Chelminski, recognized how dangerous this practice was and so endeavored to find a better and safer marine seismic source.  Lives were being lost and property destroyed using the dynamite source tossed from the vessel stern.  Chelminski earned the coveted Kauffman Gold Medal Award in 1975 in recognition for his development of marine seismic airgun technology.  The most common energy source used for marine seismic surveys these days are arrays of specially placed and timed airguns.  However, in recent years, marine seismic airguns have become especially controversial due to their perceived impact on the health and well-being of cetaceans.

Technology and Methods Designed to Kill Cetaceans
Airgun Technology Designed to Aid in the Mapping of the Marine Subsurface

Whaling was banned in many countries in 1969 because some species of cetacean were near extinction.  Globally, the commercial whaling industry was essentially ended in the late 1980s.  In 1982 the International Whaling Commission (IWC) placed a moratorium on commercial whaling.  The purpose of the IWC is the conservation and safeguarding of cetaceans and other marine mammals to allow the recovery of pre-industrial whaling levels.  However, countries such as Norway, Iceland, and Japan oppose the IWC moratorium and support commercial whaling.  Aboriginal whaling is allowed to continue on a subsistence basis but not as a commercial activity.  There has been a paradigm shift from whales being regarded as a commercial commodity to becoming a spectacle.  Over the past few decades, whale watching has become a significant industry in its own.  In some countries whale watching has replaced whaling, while in others the two industries coexist.  The marine seismic airgun opponents view cetaceans as spectacles that need to be protected and preserved.  Whalers see cetaceans as a commodity.  The cultural battle grounds are in place around the world, from the protesting of marine seismic surveys offshore the east coast of the United States to The Great Australian Bight in Australia.  Airguns are currently the best energy source to use to accomplish survey objectives.  At the same time, the marine seismic survey commercial industry is relatively new and much is still unknown about its long-term impact on cetaceans and other marine animals.  Marine seismic surveyors endeavor to take measures and develop technologies to minimize the impact of their methods and equipment, such as airguns, on cetaceans, and other marine animals to satisfy customer requirements, but whose principal objective concern is analyzing and processing seismic, and other geophysical data, to produce useful maps that will reduce drilling risks. 

The [oil and gas] industry is slow to change, But certainly, I’ll be happy when it happens.

Stephen Chelminski, Geophysicist who DEveloped AIRGUN TECHNOLOGY and is currently working on marine vibrator technology

For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.

Margaret Heffernan

As a young man, I took a trip to Seattle, Washington, USA.  In some bookshop I saw a pin that read, “Save the whales, what did the cows do wrong?”  I have been on many whale watching trips and enjoyed rare occasions of seeing cetaceans from the seismic vessels that I worked on.  I was raised and lived my younger adult life in the western US.  From this vantage point, void of any tangible socio-economic or cultural ties to whaling, whales were simply magnificent marine life visible without having to dawn scuba gear.  Cattle, on the other hand, defines the American west.  Cinema and television have glorified the rancher cowboy and cattle driver.  Cattle may roam the land of the American west, but they do so as property with “brands.”  Cattle are bred for beef, and another bred for dairy.  Beef and Dairy are traded commodities, and their population controlled through market demand.  In the US west, much of the Federal government land is leased to ranchers to graze their cattle.  Ranching and dairy production are commercial industries.  Cattle were not native to North America.  Prior to the (predominantly) European colonial conquest and expansion into western North America, bison – or buffalo – grazed the plains and grasslands.  These nomadic Native North American peoples subsisted on bison.  However, the commercial hunting of bison took the 60 million precolonial bison population to under 1000 in the late 19th century.  Private reserves and US Federal intervention prevented the extinction of the bison.  Bison population is only a small percentage of precolonial numbers.  Domestic cattle have taken over the rangeland.

Parties to the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) disagree about the necessity for continuing the moratorium on the commercial hunting of whales.  In fact, some believe that commercial whaling can be good for managing cetacean populations.  Whalers recognized that over-whaling has a negative impact on profits.  So, economic self-interest ultimately led whalers to take action to conserve the resource upon which they depended.  However, the United States, Great Britain, Australia and other nations supported the moratorium on whaling, not because the need to allow for more time for cetacean population recovery and management, but because certain nations believe whales have a right to life.  And with any moratorium on seismic airgun testing, cetaceans have the right to a pleasant life.  This position is no longer a strictly environmental viewpoint, it is an ethical viewpoint.  The same young man who visited the bookshop in Seattle, also was an avid hiker and backpacker who lived in New Mexico and loved The Land of Enchantment.  In fact, I was a member of the environmental group, The Sierra Club.  The Sierra Club is known for encouraging an appreciation for nature and the environment through sponsoring and leading hikes through such areas.  In fact, I led some hikes as a member of the local chapter of the club.  Because cattle can be grazed on Federal government land, which is also land which could be used for hiking, hikers would often encounter cattle and or their excrement along the trails. 

As a hiker, I didn’t like to encounter domesticated excrement.  At the same time, I was not bothered at all to spot a deer or bighorn sheep or come across their scat.  At some point, I made a decision to become a vegetarian.  My reasoning was that if I did not want to encounter cattle poop, I could not support the industry that used the same land I enjoyed for hiking to make hamburgers an affordable food choice.  I want to add that I also ran into hunters on these trails during certain times of the year.  I always felt that hunters had a better appreciation for the environment than many environmentalists did.  Food chains need predators, and many had been killed by ranchers or other livestock owners who had a commercial interest in protecting their cattle population.  Hunters at least understand that meat doesn’t just pop-up cellophane wrapped.  It was a living creature once.  And here is my ethical dilemma with saving the whales: whales at least are free range.  Fish populations, such as northeast North America cod, have also been overfished.  Wild fish stocks have been depleted through overfishing globally and have been replaced with fish farms.  Cattle are grazed and then sent to feedlots to be fattened-up prior to slaughter.  Chicken and pigs are factory farmed.  The short lives of these creatures prior to slaughter is cruel and deplorable.  But, out of sight, out of mind.  The point is, eating KFC is likely a less ethical food choice than eating whale, if you examine the quality of life of the creature prior its being killed.  What can’t be lost is that chicken tends to also be some of the cheapest meat to buy. 

We know, at least, that this decision (ending factory farming) will help prevent deforestation, curb global warming, reduce pollution, save oil reserves, lessen the burden on rural America, decrease human rights abuses, improve public health, and help eliminate the most systematic animal abuse in history..

Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals

Humans regard animals as worthy of protection only when they are on the verge of extinction.,

Paul Craig Roberts

Modern human lifestyle consumes vast amounts of energy.  Coal fueled the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th century and powered the steam engine.  Steam engines had more to do with the demise and near extinction of both cetaceans and bison.  Faster whaling ships, coupled with both onshore and offshore processing of carcasses, made killing whales too easy – to the point that some species neared extinction.  Oil became the dominant fuel in the 20th century and remains so today.  Offshore crude oil accounts for around 30% of the global demand for oil.  According to Wikipedia, raising animals for human consumption accounts for approximately 40% of the total amount of agricultural output in industrialized countries. Grazing occupies 26% of the earth’s ice-free terrestrial surface, and feed crop production uses about one third of all arable land.  The human footprint has expanded and destroyed many natural habitats and taken a number of creatures to, or near the brink of, extinction, not only cetaceans.  The real question that needs to be addressed is what lifestyle choices of convenience are we really willing to give-up?  The majority of humans enjoy having electricity to keep all of our appliances going.  This includes our cell phones and laptop computers, as well as our refrigerators to keep food cold.  It includes our food choices.  Many humans enjoy the convenience of automobiles and airplane travel.  Saving the whales – or prioritizing their collective welfare – does not really make one an environmentalist.  There is a litany of lifestyle choices that contribute to our energy consumption that impacts the planet.  You cannot really be for saving the whales if you enjoy eating hamburgers bought at a drive-through window.

If there were no customers for offshore oil, there would be no marine seismic – or other geophysical – exploration.  There would be no need for airguns.  So, yes, let’s improve how energy is consumed.  Let’s explore and develop renewable energy resources where we can.  And let’s continue to improve the sources used in the marine seismic experiment.  Let’s try to minimize the impact that exploring for resources offshore makes.  Let’s improve our monitoring of cetaceans and make sure that airguns are not used when cetaceans are nearby.  Let’s continue to develop marine seismic vibrator’s as sources.  Marine seismic airguns have not really been used so long.  The real impact on the different species of cetaceans is not fully understood.  Nevertheless, concerns must be listened to and addressed.  Those in the marine seismic industry, or offshore oil and gas industry, are not focused on destroying the environment or in harming cetaceans.  That’s not the objective.  The objective is to make better maps so that drilling is safer and less risky.  Protesting over activities that you do not agree with is important for citizens.  But, protesting offshore activity is only meaningful when it is accompanied by a supporting lifestyle choice.  Protesting airguns will only make a difference if your personal lifestyle choices do not include the necessity for offshore oil.  And when this is true, marine airgun exploration will be unnecessary.

Man’s law changes with his understanding of man. Only the laws of the spirit remain always the same..

Native American Crow Tribe Saying

Forests and meat animals compete for the same land. The prodigious appetite of the affluent nations for meat means that agribusiness can pay more than those who want to preserve or restore the forest. We are, quite literally, gambling with the future of our planet – for the sake of hamburgers,

Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

Submitting Grievances and Whistleblowing as a Foreign Worker

Submitting Workplace Grievances and Whistleblowing as a Foreign Worker

Submitting Grievances and Whistleblowing as a Foreign Worker – Part One: The Ambush Meeting

  • Submitting Grievances and Whistleblowing as a Foreign Worker - Part One The Ambush Meeting

By administrative-injustice-legal-blame’ model I mean ‘investigations’ focusing on finding ‘unreasonable’ actions influenced by the negligence Bolam definition of failing and which results in un-remediated ‘injustice’.  This whole model is inherited from negligence claims and is very different and often totally contrary to the goal of finding out why harm was caused and how to prevent it.

Richard von Abendorff, Why finding ‘maladministration’ is a flawed model

It is worth mentioning that compromise agreements, at whatever level, are used widely in the NHS, the private sector and other parts of the public sector. That does not necessarily mean that someone has been stopped from speaking about patient safety, and to connect the two all the time is erroneous and wrong.

David Nicholson, The price of silence: to what extent is the NHS gagging whistleblowers?

Question:
Can a UK employer legally simultaneously apply to continue sponsoring a foreign worker on a Tier 2 SOL Visa (15 July 2013) as well as initiate disciplinary actions based on poor performance (13 June 2013)?

2013 Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS), Norway Compliance: Rune Olav Pedersen, PGS General Counsel and Terje Bjølseth, PGS SVP Global HR. PGS Exploration (UK) Limited [PGSUK] Directors: Jon Erik Reinhardsen, PGS CEO and President ; Gottfred Langseth, PGS CFO and EVP,; Christin Steen Nilsen, PGS Chief Accountant; Candida Pinto, PGSUK Secretary/lawyer (resigned 13 September 2013. Legal firm Watson, Farley and Williams provided advice on submitted documentation.

As a US citizen, I was sponsored for employment by a company in England whose parent company is based in Norway. The initial three-year sponsorship was ending, and I was applying for a leave to remainor to renew my and my dependent family member visas. The company in England was in the process of renewing their sponsorship of my Tier 2 visa. The application process based on Shortage Occupation List (SOL) was not trivial nor inexpensive and required the intentional and directed involvement of company agents. The company had even engaged a legal firm specializing in Tier 2 visa sponsorship to review the documentation submitted to the UK Border Agency to facilitate a successful application process so that I could legally work in the UK. The process additionally included processing applications for my dependent wife and school aged children. Of course, as one can imagine, as a foreign worker especially, the visa application renewal process was a principal concern and interest of mine.

Unfortunately, there had been issues in the workplace for several months. These issues came to a head about a month before (13 June 2013) my leave to remain application processing and continued Tier 2 sponsorship had been approved. I had been invited to a distressing meeting on very short notice by the human resources (HR) manager, my first line supervisor, and his boss. Following this watershed event in my working life, I sent an e-mail and requested an explanation as to what had just happened from the HR Manager? I was denied all of my requests made within my e-mail to the HR Manager. Many troubling assertions were made during this meeting, and I wanted to address them head-on. Most notable of my requests was whether the meeting was compliant to the company’s policy and procedures. Given the tone and topic of the meeting, it seemed unconscionable to me that minutes were being withheld. I knew at this point that something wrong was happening to me, but I was powerless because my legal right of redress was being perverted and obstructed. I was near positive that policy and procedures and my rights under contract of employment were being breached.


The PGS Exploration (UK) Limited [PGSUK] Workplace Bully/Bullies Ambush Meeting. Minutes of the meeting were withheld. PGSUK never addressed whether the meeting followed PGSUK policy and procedures. Why?

What if the meeting was not compliant to the company’s policy and procedures? What was the legality of being denied constructive, correct and thorough answers to workplace questions in a timely and professional manner? Would I have been submitting a workplace grievance or blowing the whistle? At the time, I had no idea what was happening to me. I have a better idea now, years too late, through reading about topics of workplace bullying, harassment and abuse. What I had just experienced is referred to in bullying literature as an ambush meeting, a tactic often (always!) used by workplace bullies against their targets. The HR manager was intentionally obfuscating the event which he likely knew very well was neither compliant nor legal under law and employment contract. The HR manager was now misdirecting the event to become a disciplinary action rather than a grievance. But, I was a foreign worker being sponsored under Tier 2 SOL visa provisions. The employer had made legal claims regarding my competence and abilities to the UK Border Agency that allowed me to work in the UK and displace a local worker. Simply, it did not make sense that a “poor performer” could be legally employed on a Tier 2 visa. Could they? BUT, poor performance is a legitimate reason to terminate an normal resident employee in the UK. This is what the HR manager knew very well!

Workplace Bully Ambush Meeting – IMG 1/2
Workplace Bully Ambush Meeting – IMG 2/2
Ambush Meeting – Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) Namie Video

There are things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.

Willa Cather

In my work with the defendants, I was searching for the nature of evil and I now think I have come close to defining it. A lack of empathy. It’s the one characteristic that connects all the defendants, a genuine incapacity to feel with their fellow men.

Captain G. M. Gilbert, the Army psychologist , Nuremberg trails (1945-1949)
Recommended Workplace Grievance Process – Headline
How UK Employers Should Deal with Grievances – ACAS

HR Manager Response to Ambush Meeting Query. My career and reputation was being threatened, but supporting documentation was intentionally withheld to pervert the course of justice / obstruct my legal right under contract to file a grievance.

Can a UK employer legally simultaneously apply to continue sponsoring a foreign worker on a Tier 2 SOL Visa (15 July 2013) as well as initiate disciplinary actions based on poor performance (13 June 2013)? I had never been provided with information by the HR manager or company directors which definitively addressed these important issues constructively. I never received confirmation that company policy and procedures, as well as UK labor standards were being followed. Mind you, the bullies through HR were essentially threatening my professional reputation and livelihood during the meeting. Yet, in spite of the seriousness of the matter, I was being intentionally denied information and documentation to act on. I saw this all as unfair, unreasonable, and unprofessional. I still do. The company had challenged me to a duel, but was not allowing me to defend myself. It clearly was a violation of the company’s published Core Values and Code of Conduct. Further to this, I was a foreigner in a foreign land being treated this way, which made it all even more distressing.

These presented e-mails showed that there was a conspiracy to withhold actionable information from an employee. (This information was discovered through a Data Protection Act 1998 subject access request.) The employee had essentially been forced to leave their employment because of misrepresentations (lies) and withholding of actionable information, such as the ambush meeting minutes. Isn’t this fraud? In lieu of the minutes to the 13 June 2013 ambush meeting, a letter was written that captured many of the (unsubstantiated) claims which were made during the meeting. What was not immediately apparent at the time was that the letter had transcended the ambush meeting participants. The letter was written and signed by the manager of HR on behalf of the UK company. The UK company was directed by Norwegian parent company executives, including the CEO/President and the CFO/EVP (executive vice-president). A lawyer who worked for the UK company served as secretary. So, this lawyer essentially wrote the letter signed by the HR Manager (24 July 2013). Therefore, if there was a breach in policy, procedure, or employment and contract law, it was not only understood and approved by these company directors and secretary, but was part of a nefarious (criminal?) conspiracy. In other words, any non-compliance or breach in policy or law would have been carried out intentionally and with comprehension of any legal violations or ramifications. This would include any duplicitous information provided to UK Border Agency to affect the Tier 2 SOL visa.


Bullies Ambush Meeting Conspiracy and Cover-up. Meeting participants are denying me my legal right to complain.

Bullies Ambush Meeting Conspiracy and Cover-up. Meeting participants are denying me my legal right to complain. (First Mail – discovered through a subject access request (SAR) citing the UK Data Protection Act 1998 in October-December 2014.
Bullies Ambush Meeting Conspiracy and Cover-up. Meeting participants are denying me my legal right to complain. (Second Mail – discovered through a subject access request (SAR) citing the UK Data Protection Act 1998 in October-December 2014.

Ambush Letter produced in Lieu of Providing Requested Ambush Meeting (13 June 2013) Minutes – Part 1
Ambush Letter produced in Lieu of Providing Requested Ambush Meeting (13 June 2013) Minutes – Part 2

Ambush Letter produced in Lieu of Providing Requested Ambush Meeting (13 June 2013) Minutes – End of Letter Part 3
The UK Companies Act 2006 – General Duties of Directors
UK Companies Act 2006 – Role of Secretary
Code of Conduct – UK Law Society
UK Whistleblowing – Public Interest Disclosure Act [PIDA]
The Norwegian Code of Practice for Corporate Governance – Ethics
Whistleblowing and Norway’s Working Environment Act 2015

As a foreign worker, the mistreatment was very distressing. At the time, I was unfamiliar with the concept of workplace bullying, mobbing, and the tactic of the ambush meeting. At the same time, I had been an employee most of my life and had a conceptual understanding of fair and legal employment practices. Prior to my work in the marine seismic survey industry, I had been employed with various entities under or contracted by the US Department of Defense (DoD). During that time I had completed management training which covered US employment laws and best practices. Work attached to the US Federal government is especially sensitive to issues that would place the US government, as an employer or contractor, in legal jeopardy. I also understood the importance of proper and justified documentation. Even though US employment is known to be at will, it did not mean that employee rights could completely be trampled on. However, in the UK my employment was bound by an employment contract which is supposed to provide more worker protections and avenues of redress. I can honestly say that I did not completely understand the performance improvement plan, except that I reasoned that it could not be put into effect unless it was backed thoroughly by documented evidence. I was confident that no such evidence or justification existed. I had never experienced HR being so involved in the evaluation of my work performance. I did not even work with the HR department and the HR Manager had no direct knowledge of my work. I remained committed to follow through on my initial instinct and challenge and respond to the propriety and merits of the Investigation into possible implementation of a performance improvement plan (PIP) with a grievance.

At this point, it’s really important that you don’t get caught up in shaming or blaming. Just answer the question and give your spouse or partner room to do to the same. You are simply noticing what aligns with your values and what doesn’t.

CaRL RICHARDS

Your relationship with your line manager may give a clue as to the real reason for the PIP. The importance of workplace relationships should not be underestimated; it is frequently the case that contention in the workplace is down to a personality clash. Many individuals who are put on a PIP can cite an underlying motive which has nothing to do with the standard of their work and more a breakdown of personalities.

Philip landau
The Geo-Services Industry

Paul Pelletier – Public Salon: – Workplace Bullying

###

Institutional Betrayal, DARVO, Workplace Mobbing, Gaslighting, and the Geo-Services Professional

One trick is to pull a little bait and switch on your own brain. It goes like this: When the urge comes to do the counterproductive thing, don’t resist. Instead, replace.

Carl Richards

When a person trusts that a system designed to defend, respond, protect, or seek justice will do its job after an interpersonal trauma, and when that system either chooses not to respond (omission) or worse, chooses to lay blame at the feet of the victim (commission), institutional betrayal occurs.

Phil Monroe, Institutional Betrayal: Secret Ingredient to PTSD

According to research by psychologist Jennifer Freyd, PhD, when wrong-doers are confronted with their acts (which may be criminal), they show a pattern that can be abbreviated as DARVO, which stands for Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.  Victims of wrong-doers have a need for the truth to be revealed and for justice.  But, the proclivity of the toxic and narcissistic organization is to suppress such truth, protect the wrong-doers and evade responsibility by denying the truth and attacking the victim.  Therefore, rather than a victim making specific public allegations that will invoke such focused attacks and reprisals, it is perhaps safer and more productive to illuminate patterns of behavior, grounded in research, that will enlighten and protect potential future victims of institutional betrayal, while giving credence to current victims’ narratives.   In institutional betrayal, power and prestige within the institution is preserved through protecting the wrong-doer over the victim.  Victims place their trust in institutions based on expectations that the institution is worthy of their trust.  Stakeholders in the institution trust that the published institution core values, policy, and procedures are in place to protect their own, as well as other institutional stakeholder’s, vested interests.  After all, the main objective of publishing such information within business proposals and annual reports is to inculcate such feelings of trust in the values of the institution and its leadership.  When institutions do not respond in accordance to their espoused values, they betray this trust and in such cases, this betrayal of trust can be more traumatizing to the victims than the initial perpetrated wrong-doing, according to Betrayal Trauma Theory (BTT).   

Institutional DARVO
Institutional Betrayal

Mobbing is the nonsexual harassment of a coworker by a group of other workers or members of an organization of the one who is targeted.  The term psychological terrorism is also used to describe workplace mobbing.  Mobbing is not a conflict over facts and reasons.  Mobbing is a form of genocide where the objective is to eliminate the target that poses a threat to the power structure, influence, and reputation of the institution, and more precisely, its leadership.  Workplace mobbing tactics often are used against whistleblowers – workers who report concerns about illegal or unethical behavior in the workplace.  Mobbing requires the support of top management.  Mobbing cannot be sustained without the permission and/or direction from top-management.  The damage done to a person through workplace mobbing is an injury, not an illness.  Fundamentally, it is a workplace health and safety issue.  Therefore, there is always an effort by top-management to skirt responsibility and accountability for their intentional or negligent injurious actions.  The objective is to make the workplace so miserable for the target that they will leave voluntarily without a fight.  Workplace mobbing and bullying results in a number of health injuries and consequences for both the target, as well as his/her family.   The fabric of relationships within the organization is damaged and the victim of mobbing has suffered an injury that can be life threatening.  Victims of mobbing are documented to become ill and die prematurely or commit suicide.  Mobbing is violent health-harming abuse perpetrated through the abuse of authoritative power and a profound breach of trust.

Gaslighting is an insidiously cruel form of sociopathic narcissistic psychological manipulation and abuse often practiced to gain power and control over a target.   The objective of the gaslighting is to cause the target to lose their sense of identity and perception of what’s really happening around them.  The term originates from the 1938 stage play, GaslightIn the play, a husband dims the gas lights while he searches for jewels that he believes were hidden in the attic by his wife’s aunt, who was murdered in the apartment which his wife inherited.  The wife notices the dimming gas light, as well as other strange goings-on.  The husband tries to persuade her that she is imagining the light change, and other things.  The objective is to replace the truth with a lie.  The term gaslighting is now used colloquially to describe efforts to manipulate someone’s perception of reality.  Gaslighter’s will use persistent lying, denial, misdirection and contradiction to destabilize the victim’s beliefs and make them doubt their perceptions of events.  In the workplace, for instance, an individual who reports or discloses being harassed and bullied, or other workplace behaviors that may contradict their understanding of policy, or even the law, may become targets of gaslighting.  Gaslighter’s may try to make the victim believe that no wrong-doing has occurred and that they are just coping badly with “work performance” or other unrelated issues.  Gaslighting and workplace mobbing, or gang-bullying, can be applied together in a collective effort to force the target out of their job in retaliation for disclosing and revealing such wrong doing.  Mobbing and gaslighting are tactics used to force whistleblowers out of the workplace.

DARVO also exists on an organizational level. When a company or organization is complicit with the accused who employs the same strategy, it’s “institutional DARVO,” and what Freyd calls a form of betrayal.

Ashley Judd

And leadership is even more frightened that they might lose power, so any signs of “trouble” can easily be perceived as threats to that power.

Janice Harper, PhD, Just Us Justice

What is the difference between lying and fraud?  At what point does telling lies go from being a poor decision to a violation of the law?  Fraud is an intentional false representation intended to mislead the receiver to their detriment.  Courts will often look at what the liar(s) gain if the lie is believed and what harm is caused to the person who relied on truthful information.  If the victim believed the lie and acted as if it were true and suffered some sort of injury because of the betrayal in trust, there could be liability for fraud.  Denying or ignoring the truthful narrative of a victim is a lie and a betrayal, and a particularly pernicious form of denial is DARVO.  Organizations, like people, have an incentive to protect their ideal image.  Organizations have attributes and personalities formed by the decisions and actions of directors and top-management.  It is these decisions and actions which form the institution or corporate character.  This is not to be confused with the published corporate values, mission statements, and annual reports, which are created to form an ideal perception of the corporate character.  Narcissism describes a self-absorbed person.  Narcissists are prone to frequent lies and exaggerations and enjoy getting away with violating rules and social norms.  Narcissists project a false idealized image of themselves and use or control others as an extension of themselves.  The narcissistic organization becomes similarly self-absorbed in protecting an ideal identity above dealing with contrasting reality.  When agents of organizations gang-bully and gaslight targets in the workplace, it above all involves a conspiratorial myriad of intentional false representations intended to mislead and change the targets perception of true events to their detriment.

Participants in the atrocities and genocide carried out by Nazi Germany justified their actions on following the orders of superiors, or obedience to authority.  Could it be that the millions of accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders?  In 1961, US Yale University psychologist, Stanley Milgram, began his famous experiments into analyzing obedience to authority.  The Milgram Experiment wanted to determine if ordinary people are likely to follow orders given by an authority figure, even to the extent of killing an innocent human being.  Obedience to authority is ingrained in us all from the way we are brought up.  People tend to obey orders from other people if they recognize their authority as morally right and/or legally based. This response to legitimate authority is learned in a variety of situations, for example in the family, school, and workplace.  The experiment concluded that ordinary people are likely to follow orders given by an authority figure, even to the extent of killing an innocent human being.  Ordinary kind and humane people can easily become sadistic under certain conditions.  When someone in a position of leadership makes it clear that certain individuals are undesirable, these targets may be mistreated, shunned, and even falsely accused of misconduct and crimes.  If people believe that they will not be held accountable for their actions, and the more they see others acting aggressively without sanction, the more likely they will behave aggressively.  However, if people were reminded that they had responsibility for their own actions, almost none of them were prepared to obey. 

It is important to remember that the heinous genocide and elimination of those deemed socially undesirable during of the Holocaust was not only legal, but also a principal objective of the authoritative Nazi regime in power.  There was, and would have been, reprisal and punishment to those citizens who thwarted those objectives.  Nevertheless, many charged in carrying out these objectives were punished, and even executed, following the Allied trials that followed the conclusion of the Allied victory of World War 2.  In the Milgram experiment, teacher subjects were allowed to dispense punishment to “learners” under the direction and authority of the Yale University researcher.  Yale University’s reputation provided additional allegiance and obedience to follow these instructions.  Further, the teachers were not enfranchised in the Yale University organization.  They were not fellow researchers with an understanding of the experiment or knowledge of human psychology.  Mobbing and gaslighting behavior may be authorized by leaders – those holding authoritative decision-making power – of organizations, but those who follow the sole instruction of authority are also agents who have pronounced their commitment to uphold laws, organization policy, and organization values. 

We should never forget that everything Adolph Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Retaliation against whistleblowers is common and severe and includes negative job performance evaluations, micromanagement, isolation, loss of job, and blacklisting.

Kathy Ahern, PhD., RN, Institutional Betrayal and Gaslighting: Why Whistleblowers are So Traumatized

Gang-bullies and gaslighter’s breach all of these commitments and provide their allegiance to corrupt wrong-doers with authoritative power.  Categorically, this not “professional” behavior.  Beyond this, the law and organization policy most certainly advocate the intervention by professionals to not follow lawless, arbitrary and capricious authority that can seriously endanger the health and well-being of a coworker.  For any policy not to state this would be malpractice.   (This was not the case in Nazi Germany.)  Joining the mob and protecting corrupt leadership may enable employees to secure benefit and promotions for helping management eliminate a “difficult” employee – the whistleblower – or the target of discriminatory or abusive treatment.  Isn’t this bribery for the purpose of perverting the course of justice? Anyone who threatens the narcissistic delusion of the organization has put themselves in jeopardy.  In a safe and functional organization, disclosures are handled according to both the law and policy.  Whistleblowing tends to refer to disclosures which are not handled appropriately and result in acts of retaliation and reprisal against those who make protected disclosures.  So, why is providing protected disclosure – or whistleblowing – about organization wrong-doing so dangerous and damaging for professionals who do so, when just the opposite should be true?

Transparency International, U4 Expert Report

When what should happen is quite the opposite to what the employee who discloses wrong-doing is experiencing, cognitive dissonance is created.  There is a betrayal of trust which undermines one’s sense of reality and confidence.  Most whistleblowers disclose with the belief that the organization leadership will be just as troubled by the reported behavior as they are.  The whistleblower has been promised by the organization that disclosures will be handled fairly and effectively.  It is a legal and fiduciary promise made by leadership.  When the whistleblower begins to see the published proclamations as false assurances and is at the receiving end of unabashed reprisals, this distresses the whistleblower immensely.  Many whistleblowers experience long-term Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD).  Disclosing organization wrong-doing often implicates higher level executives, directly or indirectly.  DARVO occurs when the perpetrator, which could be an organization, literally accuses the victim of doing something specific that they did.  For instance, if you accuse perpetrators of defamation for evaluating your performance arbitrarily and not in accordance to the organization performance management system, as is common for workplace bullies and the mob, the perpetrator will deny the bullying and claim your accusations are defamatory.  The organization will protect the improperly empowered wrong-doers.  There will be no fair investigation or resolution, in contradiction to the written policy.  The victim of harassment/bullying by the mob will likely be terminated and blacklisted, all the while the narcissistic organization will preserve the myth of being guided by high values and fairness.  This is an orchestrated deception.

Betrayal is very threatening to our survival as humans.  When former colleagues and professionals assist in the elimination of the betrayed target, it comes as a shock.  It is very painful and confusing to the target who cannot understand what’s going on?  The betrayed target is likely to be enraged at the trusted institution and fellow employees who have breached their trust and demonstrated cowardice and lack of moral fortitude.  Once former colleagues align themselves with the immoral mob, there can be no redemption.  An initial moment of guilt may occur with the initial small betrayal.  This is followed by anger at the target because being angry with the corrupted power structure and calling them out is too risky.  The anger is fueled by fear and guilt that they have become accomplices in evil and compromised their own principles by betraying the target.  Following the initial betrayal, the subsequent lies and betrayals increase in intensity.  The problem is that eventually the betrayals will be discovered.  The mob must create justifications for their decisions that support the false narrative of events aligned with the corrupt power structure that oversaw the gaslighting and manipulation in the workplace which was orchestrated to eliminate the target.  The mob would like to frame the targets reaction as unhinged, when it is entirely normal for a betrayed person or victim to act as a betrayed person or victim.  The participants within the mob must collectively maintain the mythological institution identity or face internal or external legal reprisals and accountability.  They do this knowingly to protect a hypocritical and corrupted power structure and false institution identity at the expense of the victim.                          

Every life is a test but, in the workplace, few are tested more than whistleblowers.  The act of whistleblowing is a comprehensive test of the whistleblower’s values, loyalties, and above all their self-worth.  The whistleblower who survives, survives these tests. 

K. R. Sawyer, The Test Called Whistleblowing

Whistleblowers are “not” wimps. They are mighty men and women of valor as Jesus Christ was when He overturned the tables of “The Den of Thieves” who were using His Father’s House to make money.

Margaret Kannaday, Jesus: The Whistleblower

Mistreatment of workers in the workplace has always existed.  At the same time, more recently a growing attention has been given to issues such as workplace harassment, bullying, and mobbing.   In 1976, Carroll M. Brodsky, a psychologist and anthropologist, opened the discussion of workplace abuse with his book The Harassed Worker looking at the outcomes and accidents from worker stress and exhaustion.  In the mid-1980s research by psychologist and pedagogist Heinz Leymann began further investigating workplace stress and introduced our modern concept of workplace bullying and mobbing.  Workplace bullying and mobbing are identified as principal workplace health and safety hazards.  Workplace environments where mobbing and bullying occur have been antecedent to both the Piper Alpha (1988) and the Deepwater Horizon (2010) offshore oil rig disasters.  The Piper Alpha disaster cost the lives of 167 offshore workers and was the deadliest offshore disaster.  The Deepwater Horizon is the largest offshore environmental disaster and it also cost the lives of eleven (11) offshore workers.  Workplaces environments where there are feelings of economic uncertainty from downsizing and restructuring leave fewer people to do more work and also make the competition for positions intense seem to fuel harassment, bullying and mobbing cultures.  While the cyclic oil and gas industry that employs geo-services professionals is not unique in terms of harvesting workplace conditions conducive to workplace harassment, bullying and mobbing, but is especially susceptible during down cycles which exacerbate uncertainty.

Much of the research work by Freyd focuses on sexual offenders and identifies a form of institutional betrayal, which is a negative reaction when an assault is reported.  This negative response by the organization adds additional trauma to the victim beyond the interpersonal violation.  The comment that is often heard, “The rape was bad, but what was even worse was how I was treated after the rape occurred.”  Institutional DARVO occurs when DARVO is committed by an institution (or with institutional complicity).  Institutional DARVO is when an institution minimizes – sometimes to the point of ignoring – the harms done to the victim(s) and frames the alleged perpetrations in such a way to blame the victim and protect the perpetrators.  An example of institutional DARVO would include to institutional leaders responding to disclosures by gaslighting victims into thinking they do not have a sufficient understanding of policy and practice and that there was no non-compliant or illegal behavior.  In the case of bullying and mobbing, the ruse of “poor performance” is often used as a justification for mistreatment.  Institutions may also obstruct the victims redress through outright lying about policy and legal obligations of the institution.  Institution betrayal really boils down to leadership corrupting the processes of redress in order to avoid culpability.  The institution does not follow their own rules and decisions are made with arbitrary caprice. 

Milgram demonstrated the power of authority over the minds and wills of ordinary people.  Milgram’s experiment was conducted following the trial of Otto Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem.  Eichmann was executed in 1962.  The trial was followed closely by the media and was the inspiration for several books.  One of the more famous books was written by Hannah Arendt.  Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem coined the phrase “the banality of evil” to describe Eichmann.  Banal evil is characterized by a belief that what one is doing is not evil, rather, what they are engaging in is a behavior that is, or has been, normalized by the society in which they reside.  The horrors of the Holocaust, to which Eichmann assisted through overseeing the deportation of many of the Jewish population to the Auschwitz concentration camp, resulted in the murder of about 75 percent upon arrival.  Eichmann was loyally following the laws and carrying out the evil objectives of the Nazi regime.  Institutional betrayal and acts of psychological violence in the workplace, such as harassment, mobbing and bullying is different.  Those who follow the evil dictates of authority are usually acting against the policy and laws.  Such “professionals” are actively and willingly complicit in the destruction of the victim’s professional life and reputation, as well as the family and loved one’s who depend on their betrayed victims.  These acts are evil.  Such behavior is only normalized through the indifference of legal authorities to pursue such evil institution leadership and mob participants.  Scientific research has determined proclivities and patterns followed by abusers and criminals.  Now, institutional governance bodies and law enforcement must actively embrace the research and the body of knowledge it provides to aid victims.  For institutional governance and law enforcement not to do so is a further betrayal to victims and a miscarriage of justice.  Being a victim or doing the right thing should not be dangerous. 

The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.

Hannah Arendt

Consecrated persons, chosen by God to guide souls to salvation, let themselves be dominated by their human frailty or sickness and thus become tools of Satan.

Pope Francis, 2019 Sex Abuse Summit

No Narcissists in Geo-Services – NONGS

No Narcissists in Geo-Services – NoNGS
No Psychopaths in Geo-Services – NoPGS
Characteristics of Psychopaths
No Bullies in Geo-Services – NoBGS

…  we argue that organizations can adopt collective narcissistic identities that will produce wrong (i.e., non-virtuous) behavior. This happens because the organization’s narcissistic identity—including the corresponding motive to protect its identity—is more powerful than a motive to behave morally

Extreme narcissistic organizations want to appear ethical because appearing ethical feeds their narcissism, and so the costs of creating formal ethics programs are small compared to the ego-defense benefits. But such programs are instrumental for the narcissistic identity, not ethical conduct, and therefore will not much affect the behavioral status quo. ~ Organizational Narcissism and Virtuous Behavior

Why Enterprise Compliance Programs Fail (24-April-2016)

Our Deepwater Horizon (4-April-2016)

Workplace Bullying is an Agency Problem and Often a Crime (1-February-2016)

When Human Resources is Corrupt (10-August-2015)

Between the Bully and the Deep Blue Sea (5-June-2015)

Avoiding the Tragedy of Whistleblowing
Bribery – Wikipedia

Bribery is the act of giving or receiving something of value in exchange for some kind of influence or action in return, that the recipient would otherwise not offer. Bribery is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as the offeringgivingreceiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legalduty.[1] Essentially, bribery is offering to do something for someone for the expressed purpose of receiving something in exchange. – Wikipedia

It is unethical for a lawyer to threaten to present criminal, administrative or disciplinary charges to obtain advantage in a civil dispute.  Blackmail consists of threats made to gain anything of value from the other person, such as money, property or sexual favors.  Extortion constitutes a threat to accuse someone of a crime, or to expose or impute to him/her any significant misconduct, accompanied by a demand for payment “or else.”

Shearing the Trough in Marine Seismic Streamer Acquisition with Nodes

Ocean Bottom Node Seismic Acquisition Challenges High-end Seismic Streamer Acquisition

History is so important. It has been said that the three most important words in the English language are “remember, remember, remember.” 

Carl Richards

Chances multiply when you take them.

Doug Pedersen

Since May 2015, MarineSeismicSurvey (MSS) blog articles have mostly focused on the marine seismic streamer market as a gauge of the health and trend of offshore geophysical exploration.  However, marine seismic streamer activity can no longer be considered singularly in such analysis.  The growing ocean bottom seismic (OBS) market, being forged by ocean bottom node (OBN) technologies, must be taken into account moving forward.  The percentage share of OBS in the marine seismic survey market has been increasing over the past decade, and some analysts are predicting that OBS will command a 30% marine seismic survey market share by 2020 with its continued rise.  This is remarkable for several reasons.  The plunge in oil prices in mid-2014 significantly impacted marine geophysical exploration.  However, marine geophysical exploration has historically been a boom or bust business defined through a litany of bankruptcies, mergers, and acquisitions.  Oil prices have always been cyclic.  Therefore, the trend and buoyancy of the marine geophysical exploration survey industry remains a good indicator for the overall trends and health of the offshore oil and gas industry. 

Marine seismic surveys, in simple terms, map the subsurface points between a source and receiver(s).  For some time, the most time-efficient and cost-effective way to map these points is through narrow azimuth (NAZ) streamer acquisition.  Standard NAZ marine seismic acquisition is where source(s) and streamers are towed together behind a single vessel.  It is principally the cost of the seismic vessel and seismic in-sea equipment that determines the price of a survey.  Surveys are priced on a day rate, square kilometer rate, or the number of these “mid-points”, or common depth points (CDPs) mapped.  Because each source, almost always an air gun blast or “shot”, maps to the number of receiver sensors located on the streamer cables, there has been an incentive to tow as many streamers as possible to reduce time and costs of marine seismic surveys.  To facilitate this, newer marine seismic streamer vessels have steadily become larger and more powerful.  They are also more expensive to equip and operate.  OBS acquisition has been slower and more expensive method.  However, OBS is seen to provide better data quality.  There have been notable technology innovations introduced into the marine seismic streamer market during the past decade to improve data quality.  Similarly, more powerful computing power has improved final data quality and imaging of marine seismic streamer acquisition.

The marine seismic streamer market has always been tenuous and competitive.  In late 2013, CGG acquired Fugro GeoScience’s marine seismic streamer fleet.  Fugro exited the marine seismic streamer market before the mid-2014 plunge in oil prices.  However, they retained their OBS capability as a joint venture with CGG which is Seabed GeoSolutions.  OBS data was regarded as “better” because it was derived from multi-component (2-4) sensors, whereas seismic streamer data sensors were single component.  One of the problems with marine seismic streamer data was the loss of recorded bandwidth which correlates to depth that sources and streamers are towed.  This loss of bandwidth is known as a “ghost notch” caused from upcoming energy cancelling down-coming energy from the water surface.  In 2007, a dual-sensor towed streamer was introduced into the market that could rival OBS data quality.  In 2009, the first dual-sensor 3D survey was carried out, ushering in an industry wide embrace of “broadband” seismic streamer data.  Another way to acquire broadband seismic data from single-sensor streamers is through varying the depth of the streamers and then applying sophisticated data processing algorithms.  In 2013, a 4-component streamer was introduced into the market. As vessels got larger and towed larger spreads, there also became a need for improved streamer control equipment. 

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

Steve Jobs

We are witnessing a seismic change in consumer behavior. That change is being brought about by technology and the access people have to information.

Howard Schultz

While there have been remarkable innovations and advances in marine seismic streamer acquisition technologies and techniques, advances have also been made in OBS that are together transforming marine geophysical business model paradigms.  In a competitive market, innovation is essential.  However, conservative concession operators have shown a reluctance to pay any premium for such innovations.  Within the MSS blog article, Toward a New Horizon in the Marine Seismic Streamer Industry (24-January-2018), we reminisced about Schlumberger’s seismic acquisition entity, WesternGeco (WG)’s, history and their contributions to the marine seismic industry.  Schlumberger’s CEO, Paal Kibsgaard, announced that the company would exit the marine and land acquisition businesses in January 2018.  The reason essentially boiled down to the return on investment developing and deploying innovative technologies.  The MSS blog article, Upstream Exploration and the Paradox of Choice (5-June-2015), describes how the operator competitive bidding process discourages more expensive innovative proprietary technologies until they are commoditized and offered by a variety of service company providers.  An example of this is in the variety of solutions offered for marine broadband streamer acquisition.  Broadband is commoditized, the specific techniques and equipment used are distinct and vary in equipment and operational costs.

On 15 November 2018, it was announced that relative newcomer, Shearwater GeoServices (Shearwater), had completed the acquisition of the marine seismic acquisition and operations of WG.  Shearwater’s portfolio now includes marine seismic streamer, as well as ocean bottom seismic (OBS) exploration services.  On 27 December 2018, seismic streamer player, Polarcus, announced their winning a combined towed streamer and ocean bottom node (OBN) contract that they will perform cooperatively with SAE Exploration.   Earlier, 7 December 2018, ocean bottom node player, Magseis, acquired Fairfield’s Seismic Technologies data acquisition business to become Magseis Fairfield.  These moves in late 2018 have redefined the marine seismic industry.  Both Magseis and Shearwater are both relative newcomers to their respective principal markets.  Through their acquiring additional marine data acquisition resources, they are now both dominant players.  Shearwater added seven (7) marine seismic streamer vessels to their fleet, as well as three (3) multipurpose source and OBS vessels.  MagSeisFairfield will also have a dominant position in the OBS/OBN market.   

Schlumberger made a decision to exit the data acquisition game.  It has been my position since my first blog post article, The Seismic Vessel Over-Capacity Problem (5-May-2015) that the marine seismic streamer market provides a snapshot of the trends and health of offshore development and overall oil and gas spending and growth.  Both Schlumberger (of which WG was a part) and Fairfield will continue to have a presence in providing seismic data processing, imaging, and multi-client (MC) products and services.  Both Schlumberger and Fairfield are innovators of proprietary technologies in marine seismic acquisition and are currently pursuing claims of patent infringement against their rivals.  Schlumberger’s is challenging ION streamer control technology.  Fairfield’s recent claim of patent infringement of their OBN acquisition technology by Seabed GeoSolutions (SG) are current examples.  Both Shearwater and MagSeisFairfield will quite possibly be in sole possession of cutting edge proprietary data acquisition technologies. 

A century ago, petroleum – what we call oil – was just an obscure commodity; today it is almost as vital to human existence as water.

James Buchan

I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.

JefF Bezos

The plunge in oil prices in mid-2014 led most seismic streamer acquisition vessel owners to reduce the number of operating vessels to adapt to the reduced offshore exploration opportunities.  In the near-term, this took a large fleet of capable vessels and equipment off the market.  With reduced demand for oil exploration, seismic streamer vessel fleets have been decimated.  The marine seismic acquisition equation has changed significantly.  Over-capacity in the marine seismic streamer vessel market exists when the number of vessels (streamers) in the market is greater than the demand for data acquisition surveys that will employ such vessels.  In a robust demand market, larger fleets could be deployed strategically to minimize costly uncompensated transit times between surveys.  Equipped streamer vessels are expensive to maintain.  The objective is always to keep vessels working and reduce transit time.  If the marine seismic vessel is on-site, but idle – or on standby – for a variety of reasons, the goal of the vessel owner is to be compensated for the idle time by the contractor.  Of course, the operator/contractor also wants to minimize their incurred expense when vessels are not acquiring data (which meets the contractor data requirements) in the (contract) acquisition business model.  The marine seismic streamer fleet had been steadily adding vessels capable of towing larger streamer spreads, which also meant reduced survey times.  Larger spreads complete surveys in less time.  In a market with reduced opportunities it is even more difficult to keep fleets working steadily and profitably.

In spite of all of these factors, reducing survey time and cost to operators, especially during a time of reduced oil prices, survey cost is the principal consideration.  In times past, in areas of robust exploration, multiple seismic vessels could be working in the same area.  This was problematic for high quality seismic data acquisition.  The sources used by the different survey vessels would impact the seismic data.  Seismic interference, as it was referred to, occurred when the source signal from another survey vessel polluted the recorded records from the primary survey.  Expensive time-sharing agreements would compel seismic vessels to cease data acquisition while the other recorded to reduce seismic source interference.  However, there are now seismic data processing techniques which can separate out unwanted seismic signal, thus again reducing idle time and expense once caused from seismic source interference.  In fact, such data processing has been refined enough to allow surveyors to intentionally overlap source interference.  As mentioned earlier, the points being mapped are essentially the midpoints between the seismic source and receivers.  Adding sources in acquisition and overlapping sources for deblending in data processing is now an offered solution which again reduces survey time and cost, but increases potential vessel idle time.

Geophysical survey customers are cost conscious consumers and are, for the most part, risk adverse and not aggressive using innovative technologies that increase survey costs.  However, geophysical survey customers seem willing to try new technologies and techniques that decrease survey costs.  In such a competitive environment, customers can often get the benefit of both new technology and techniques without a premium cost.  The incentive for vessel owners is to keep the vessels as busy as possible to reduce loss from idle time.  All of these factors do not easily explain the rise in OBS/OBN marine seismic market share so much as the decimation of the marine seismic streamer fleet.  Marine seismic streamer acquisition is still the most time efficient marine seismic acquisition technique.  In times past, offshore project development required that oil prices be above $70 USD/bbl.  This value is not firm, but any trading value of over such an arbitrary threshold provides more opportunities for investment in seismic surveys.  Most frontier exploration initiates with 2D (single streamer) marine seismic surveys.  This data can then be used to evaluate the area and plan subsequent 3D (multiple streamers) marine seismic surveys, which in turn define targets for offshore drilling.  4D marine seismic streamer acquisition is used over existing reservoirs to improve oil recovery.  4D programs are intended to replicate the source and receiver positions of previous 3D surveys and detect changes over time and determine optimal drilling locations. 

The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.

Bill Gates

Predicting oil prices is anyone’s guess.

Soren Skou

In the current market (with oil prices trading below the threshold value for profitably), developing new fields is prohibitive.  OBS/OBN acquisition can focus on developed or trafficked areas where streamer acquisition is hindered by obstructions or other hazards and risks that exists when towing a 1100 m x 8000 m (or larger) streamer spread 5-15 m below the sea surface.  OBS/OBN exploration programs can be more focused on quality over quantity of CDPs.  In other words, getting more oil and gas from already developed fields where there is existing infrastructure in place is less risky than exploring in remote expansive areas.  The improved data processing deblending techniques provide the ability to acquire marine seismic data with multiple overlapping sources.  Add to this more sophisticated interpolation algorithms means new acquisition source-streamer configurations can be employed to reduce survey time and costs.  Less in-sea equipment also has many operational advantages.  Towing wider spreads with fewer streamers can save on fuel and reduce the number of streamer control and positioning equipment to monitor and maintain.  Of course, from a health and safety perspective, reduced maintenance means less risk exposure by offshore workers.

OBN seismic data acquisition is becoming more efficient and less costly to deploy and is now poised to challenge the high-end marine seismic streamer market.  OBS/OBN technology is equipped with multicomponent sensors that can collect full azimuth seismic data.  The step change advances in OBN include longer battery life in nodes and faster automated deployment.  Much the higher cost of OBS/OBN is attributed to time efficiency, where as much of the expense for marine seismic is the large and powerful streamer vessels themselves.  OBN technology can acquire 4D seismic data, as well.  OBN surveys will take market share away from high-end marine seismic streamer surveys, especially as oil prices remain below the offshore development threshold price.  In this cost sensitive environment, cost effective 3D exploration employing a combination of three (3) or more sources and seismic deblending data processing techniques will be attractive for frontier exploration.  Marine seismic streamer and OBN will battle for acquiring data to reach untapped regions of existing developed fields.  This is what I believe will shape the marine geophysical data acquisition market.  As has always been the case, oil prices will continue to control marine seismic market.  Also, as has always been the case, innovation that best solves the problems of customers will win the day.    The plunge in oil prices in mid-2014 significantly impacted marine geophysical exploration.  Marine seismic will remain a boom or bust business defined by bankruptcies, mergers, and acquisitions until there is a paradigm shift in how innovation is embraced by marine seismic survey customers.

Keeping customers is about the experience, and the employees control the culture and temperature of the business. Never forget that.

Steve Wynn

At its heart, engineering is about using science to find creative, practical solutions. It is a noble profession.

Queen Elizabeth II

###

When Human Resources is Corrupt (10-August-2015)

20150810-photo

Why it Matters in the Seismic Industry

Corruption: dishonest or illegal behavior especially by powerful people. ~ Merriam-Webster

Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive. ~ Walter Scott 

What happens when human resources is corrupt?  During a down cycle in an industry, and amid times of economic uncertainty especially, corporate human resources (HR) departments can hold substantial influence over personal lives.  With such influence also comes the opportunity to abuse power and wield such influence in nefarious ways.  As a scientist for the majority of my career, HR served as an innocuous backdrop.  HR collected my timesheets, distributed payroll slips, insurance and pension optimization plan information, and they filed assessments conducted by my supervisors.  In the article, Why the Path to Ethics Starts with Human Resources, author Chris MacDonald states that HR is ground zero for company culture.  I agree.  HR publishes company policy, values, and procedures.  However, my benign impression of HR was completely transformed through the experience with a past employer.  Since then, I have read extensively about HR, including accounts of HR behaving badly, which opened my eyes.  I have come to the conclusion that, fundamentally, HR functions to support the organization hierarchy.  An HR which supports the organization hierarchy is not too surprising and is as it should be.  If the hierarchy is fair and honest, so too is HR.  Conversely, however, if the hierarchy is corrupt, then so too is HR.  A corrupt HR is used to purge the ranks from power liabilities, such as the honest up-and-comer on a top manager’s coat tails, or any honest person too close to the truth, such as a whistle blower, or a bully target who challenges managerial competency and integrity.  HR does not have the power to displace the corrupt hierarchy that employs them.  It should be relatively simple for an ethical hierarchy to rid themselves of a knave employee.  Corrupt hierarchies are regimes who conspire, cooperate and protect one another.  Fundamentally, workplace bullying is the abuse of power.  Abuse of position is a category of fraud, as are false representation and withholding of information, which are all usually associated with fiduciary malfeasance, rather than the misuse and abuse of human resources.  I believe that bullies are not individuals, but regimes supported by an organization’s formal power structures.  HR will shield managerial corruption and incompetence and use their legitimate guise to extricate threatening (to the corrupt or incompetent hierarchy) personnel.  Within unethical and toxic organizations, a corrupt HR is empowered and enabled as the enforcer to protect the company proverbial cosa nostra.  In fact, for corrupt organizations, a corrupt HR is practically essential.

For me, this prose is personal.  However, what I have learned is that it shares an all too common theme for many disenfranchised workers who take stands against unprincipled work practices.  It is the reasonable people who are often made out to be unreasonable.  I wrote about how I came to discover, and know with certainty, about the unethical practices of my former employer in the LinkedIn Pulse article published on 3 July 2015.  As an American working in England, my former marine seismic company employer’s HR manager had the brazen audacity to create and retain an entire mythology of my work history. I suppose it is because I upset the hierarchy by essentially saying “enough is enough.”  Without my knowledge, and in spite of several requests for more substantive information, the HR Manager compiled a collection of unsigned, falsified, and forged documents which he had the imperiousness to call my professional personnel file.  Because it is my belief that these falsehoods have been shared throughout the HR back-channels, as I cannot conceive of any other utility for them matching his character, I brought my knowledge of these activities to light.  There would be absolutely no advantage for me to publish ungrounded allegations of a former employer.  However, I feel that I need to write about my experience to defend and preserve my personal dignity and reputation for myself and my family, as well as enlighten the broader community.  I am determined to challenge the false narrative economically focusing on the truth rather than addressing damages in English court.  Such a challenge would be time consuming, expensive, and logistically difficult.  Also, to prove the points to any (uncertain economic) benefit is not my priority so much as the truth of the matter.  However, it would be impossible for my previous employer to prove otherwise.  Nonetheless, the false documents and/or contents mentioned are in my possession, as well as have been shared with UK and Norwegian government compliance organizations, if they so choose to investigate compliance to their national laws and acts.  Truth has patience.

I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.”   ―  Jonathan Swift     

The reason that it is important to bring attention to the iniquitous behaviors of employers within the seismic industry, or other sectors for that matter, is because nothing is done in isolation.  The companies, employees, and communication channels are all connected.  When companies decide to pollute their company records, and the marine seismic and larger geophysical community or sector, with false information about ex-employees, it serves only the self-interest of incompetent or corrupt leadership.  When high level executives cooperate to use the financial leverage provided from customers, shareholders, and other employees to make challenging wrong-doing exceptionally difficult, these decisions devalue every aspect of a company.  Should management be able to vilify me, or other employees, professionally when the company top executives are the ones who lie and malign?  It is those who lack the courage to abide by the policies which they articulate, who deceive, withhold, and then falsify documents who are the ones that should be ashamed.  And it should be the company and its executives who condone such egregious practices that should be out of work, and not the targets of abused power.  That is how business should work.  I am directly familiar with the events which have affected me personally.  However, the culture and character of the organization hierarchy suggests that I was likely not the first person to be the target of such abominations.  From my review of literature, this behavior is not exceptional – unfortunately – and transcends sector and industry.  This is the same culture and character which makes decisions about how to handle other employees concerns contrary to their own policies and which also forms decisions about who is to be retained or made redundant in a down cycle.  This same culture and character form several other “strategic” business decisions, up through preparing and signing multi-million dollar contracts with oil and gas license operators.

If senior management is willing to conspire, lie, and falsify documents to deal with what should be a relatively simple problem to control or solve, had they only effectively applied their own policies and been responsible, what would keep any company from corrupting the outcome of other unfavorable health and safety or other controversial information?  Should we be resigned to allow such companies to just change the rules whenever they cannot “win” on their terms?  It is all connected.  The problem is that such behaviors are all too common today globally, and it has impact on the greater global economic culture of business.  Cheaters are holding onto their jobs, even being further rewarded, while honest, capable and committed workers are losing their jobs and livelihoods directing the sector on the wrong course by use of a broken moral compass. Corrupt organizational hierarchies are making bad business decisions and then using HR to formally facilitate personnel actions to hide their incompetence.  This reality negatively effects quality, health and safety, and the environment.  It impacts employees, customers, and investors.  It effects the entire seismic industry and beyond, and it needs to be stopped.  Hopefully, informing business sector stakeholders will facilitate this change.

With most people disbelief in a thing is founded on a blind belief in some other thing. ― Georg C. Lichtenberg

I never thought that I would ever work under such dishonest and manipulative management hierarchy as I did.  I worked within the contract sales group in England concentrating on Africa projects.  When I voiced health and safety concerns and believed that I was being bullied by my boss, management’s reaction had me in disbelief.  There is a lot of literature about workplace bullying and it is not an altogether exceptional issue to come across these days.  In fact, it is a serious issue mentioned within the company handbook as something that is not tolerated.  Countries are passing workplace bullying legislation affecting global workplaces.  One would think (or hope) that high level human resource professionals and executives would want to be in tune with this knowledge and possess the acumen to listen and address such concerns professionally and be able to arrive at some mutually advantageous solution if such issues arose.  After all, stress, harassment and bullying are the most highly ranked workplace hazards within the UK, where I was working.  I was not actually familiar with the term “workplace bullying” until I started to try and put a name on the unreasonable and derisive management practices which I was enduring.  The silence, misinformation, and deception all around me was the most difficult part to absorb.  My direct interaction with human resources throughout my career had been minimal until my England assignment.  I had never experienced anything close while working for the U.S. Department of Defense where keeping information secret was in fact part of the team’s job.  To make a long story short, it was never officially resolved whether I was bullied.  But, it was neither resolved that I hadn’t been bullied.  We agreed to part ways.  I wanted to leave the inhospitable and uncomfortable situation behind me, and so I moved back to America, along with my family.  Top management had done just about everything possible to avoid dealing with the issue directly.

Over time, what I have become completely certain of, in my case, is that the HR manager responsible for compiling my file is a liar and a coward.  However, his actions were wholly empowered and supported by top management, who apparently share his level of character.  The senior vice president of HR and current executive vice president of operations, who reside at the parent company headquarters in Norway, created and signed a forged memo which was added to my professional personnel records.  The memo presented false assertions that a conclusion regarding my bullying issue had been reached.  In fact, nothing could have been further from the truth.  This high level power team demonstrated no interest in dealing with my issue on a professional level according to the company’s policies and procedures. Yet, they continue to project a narrative where they essentially won the argument.  This is unacceptable.

Through all of this, they were in fact willing to endanger my health and well-being to maintain and project authority.  There was never an interest for an objective review of the situation and no dialogue.  I would have never brought-up such mistreatment and company departure from process and procedure at such a high level without some chronicle of reasons or episodes to support my claims.  There was plenty of information presented that the senior management team could have reasonably considered and reported on.   During the same period, management requested an independent report from an occupational health professional.  I discovered it through a separate Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) subject access request.   The senior management knowingly withheld this report from me while I was employed and considering my exit.  They also responded to me and the compliance agency that such a report was never provided to them when I made my subject access request.  They had lied to me and likely to the compliance agency.  I believe that management took advantage of the fact that I was from America and required company sponsorship to remain in determining how to address my issue.  Management colluded to make my work conditions more unbearable so I would not want a prolonged confrontation and have to remain in England any longer.  They were correct that I did not want to stay in England surrounded by such dishonest and manipulative hosts.  They used this to their advantage as they averted protocols and delayed decisions until I finally agreed to leave and not press the issue any further.  And then top management had the false narrative follow me to America polluting the seismic industry community.  They were likely surprised by my DPA subject access request.

The senior management completely abrogated their responsibility as prescribed in policy.  They demonstrated no leadership or ability to discuss difficult issues whatsoever.  Instead, they created falsified documents to form a suitable written mythology to place into my personnel file.  Through guidance and cooperation from the company top executives, HR changed dates and left out or embellished events – the entire history of my final months of employment – to make things appear as though some semblance of policy and procedure was followed when it was not.  They left out any of my disagreements to their unsubstantiated narrative leaving a completely one-sided –false – narrative.  This shameful behavior was not only supported, but rewarded during a year with reduced earnings.  Since shedding light on my circumstances, high level scientists working for my former employer and anonymous others have viewed my LinkedIn profile.  I have encouraged the identifiable one’s to look into my file and check my personnel file and claims for themselves.  People of honor would want to defend their character.  Expectedly, there has been no response, only the typical silence and avoidance from confronting truth.  Apparently, it was not enough for the hierarchy to take away my career, they also wanted to steal my identity and rewrite history so that it should be difficult that I ever have one again.  This tale of events would have never been shared had I not come to discover the true hubris and vindictiveness of my former employer’s senior management through a UK Data Protection Act 1998 subject access request.  Without the leverage of certainty, I would have never known without doubt the distortions and would have been obliged to silence assuming accurate records, as both the DPA and ethical practices require, were being retained.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” ― Warren Buffett

My narrative, while unique, is not altogether exceptional.  Change the company and some particulars, and the behaviors and character of how issues of bullying and whistle-blowing are dealt with have a common theme.  Power structures will align themselves and protect their domains by all means.  Fairness is a side issue only read about in HR columns removed from the real world.  We find trust in business relationships at an all-time low, while management hubris and abuse of positions seems to be at an all-time high. Why?  The common reaction to those who expose corruption or management incompetence is to purge the messenger.  Management will conspire to lie, cheat, and yes, endanger worker lives, to maintain their power and position.  Psychologists David DeSteno and Piercarlo Valdesolo conducted several experiments showing time and again that 90% of people – mostly of whom identify themselves as morally upstanding – will act dishonestly to benefit themselves if they believe that they will not be caught.  Further to this, people will rationalize their own dishonesty while condemning the dishonesty of others.  In other research by Paul Piff, it was found that with increased power and status there is a decrease in honesty and reliability.  Psychologist Robert Feldman believes people are motivated to lie not necessarily to impress others, but to maintain a view of themselves consistent with the way that they want others to view them.  In the workplace, self-esteem and threats to the executive’s sense of self are drivers for lying.

Executives want to look good in the company and this is closely tied with the fact that people appear to be short-term focused when they decide to deceive someone.  While individuals work to sustain their self-image and self-worth in the short term, if the deceived individual finds out it can have long-term consequences.   I hope that this is what is happening now.  Within an organization with a fair and ethical management system, if managers have the legitimate formal power, along with the appropriate processes to handle employee issues, there would be no need to risk lying and damaging the organizations reputation.  According to research cited by consultant and speaker Margaret Heffernan, 85% of surveyed US and UK executives avoid dealing with issues that might provoke conflict.  These executives did not want to be challenged because they were afraid to get embroiled in arguments that they did not know how to manage, and felt that they were bound to lose.  Couple this with a propensity for high-level executives to preserve their self-identity through lying and many events become easier to explain, while not necessarily easier to accept.

Human resources is too often used as a punitive function to protect and hide organization leadership and managerial corruption and incompetence. This negatively impacts and corrupts the entire organization culture.  This results in sub-optimal organization and system performance in all areas impacting quality, health and safety, and environment.  Organizations who misuse the human resource function blemish the majority of honest and competent HR professionals and the positive contributions that they can provide to organizations when counseled properly.  When a positive work culture is allowed to be destroyed from within and hijacked by management of misrepresentation, blame, and distortion, then employees, customers, and shareholders, as well as the entire industry pay the price.  When top managers are not obliged to follow the policies and values that the company advocates, these counter-cultural norms are then embraced to form a debased work culture.  In the modern business environment, we are all connected in some way.  Human resources is the center of organization culture.  Human resources articulate and publish company values and policy for common understanding.  How companies deal with workplace conflict, such as claims of harassment, bullying, discipline and grievance processes, etc. is a much better measure of company culture.  How these events are recorded and resolved along with third-party survey data would provide more information than a company’s printed mission statements and values to license operators who contract them.  Gauging contractor cultures compatibility with operator cultures will also reduce project risks.  Many business and project failures are due to incompatible work cultures working ineffectively toward incongruent objectives.  As it was written, the path to ethics starts with human resources.  It often ends there too.

If you are a human resources professional, please offer your perspective.

You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know. ~ William Wilberforce