Yes, I am a disgruntled employee. Read my story and then judge me, if you consider it necessary.
My odyssey began on the 13th of August 2011 (the night before my 43rd birthday). From what I can recall, it was about 2:30 a.m. when three hoodlums appeared out of nowhere and began, for no reason, to beat up a group of prostitutes close to the entrance of the hotel where I work. This is nothing new as the entire city block surrounding the ‘Athens Center Square Hotel’ during the evening hours is overshadowed by (under aged) prostitutes, homeless people, drug users, traffickers, stray dogs and small time pick pockets and violent thieves. I also wish to inform you that I have been employed as the security guard on the night shift since the 13th of June 2009 – despite the fact that on paper I am registered as a porter.
Not too long ago Greek television station ‘Mega’ previewed a 47 minute documentary on the prostitution and violence around the streets surrounding the ‘Athens Center Square’ hotel. Please click on this link to view a small section of the documentary.
In a state of total panic, the young prostitutes considered it wise to seek help so they ran into the hotel… this was the first time something like this had happened.
The hoodlums entered the building with obvious violent intentions. My colleague and I kindly asked both parties to leave the building immediately. We even went to the trouble of offering them a drink to calm the moment.
At first everything seemed to be going according to plan because we had succeeded in a peaceful manner to escort them out in the dark and empty street. I stood a couple of meters from the main entrance to keep an eye out and make sure they had gone away. At this moment, the taller of the three (speaking good Greek) – who may have been angry for not being able to get his way with the prostitutes – ran up from the side, hit me on the side of the head with something very hard and quickly disappeared into the distance. I did not fall but less than a minute later the left side of my face had swollen up, the sclera (white part of the eye) had become blood red and my nose was bleeding.
Everything looked dark and blurry and the pain in my head was simply unbearable. My colleague decided to call an ambulance and notify the police. In less than twenty minutes two police officers from a nearby station arrived at the hotel. The officers wrote a report and said I could pick it up the following day. Less than ten minutes later, the ambulance arrived and escorted me to Gennimatas General Hospital.
The hospital personnel conducted all sorts of exams – X-rays, eye examinations, blood and urine tests. Furthermore, I was examined by a neurosurgeon, his results showed no serious damage to the nervous system. But the X-rays and C-Scan confirmed a fractured cheekbone and damage around the eye socket. I was given a bed and was informed that a surgery was required so the severely fractured cheekbone could be put back in the right place. This would involve a cut about an inch long through the eyebrow and two titanium metal plates and screws were to be inserted into the cheekbone to keep it in place.
Before the accident.
At the time of the accident…
The following morning I was laying in bed when I received a call from my boss on the cell phone. After she had finished inquiring about my overall health, Mrs. Dorina Stathopoulou (Owner & Manager of the ‘Athens Center Square Hotel’) dared to point out that none of this would have happened if the main door had been locked. I must add I had never received a direct (written or verbal) order that the main door had to be locked. I wish to point out that Mrs. Dorina Stathopoulou also happens to be the owner and manager of Hermes and Plaka Hotels.
“Until that moment, the majority of the guests were still out and about,” I explained and asked for a copy of the security camera video so I could forward it to the authorities with the hope that the police would identify and track down those dangerous individuals.
“No, I will do no such thing and I think its best you don’t inform the police of the fact that we have cameras at the hotel,” she said.
According to the explanation I got from two lawyers, the law states that from the moment there are cameras, there should be signs on the wall informing both the guests and personnel that the premises are under 24 hour continuous surveillance. Furthermore, the management is obliged to inform the personnel of their existence and receive their written approval. But Mrs. Stathopoulou had not achieved this. Therefore, is it possible the cameras that have been filming our every move for the last two and a half years could in fact be illegal?
Click on this link to view: Pictures of surveillance cameras at the main entrance, lobby area, and breakfast room.
Furthermore, my boss has even gone to the trouble of placing a microphone above the reception desk so she can listen to every word her employees are saying. This reminds me of the novel “1984” written by George Orwell. The hypocrisy to all this is that the device hides behind a holy candle with a cross!
“And what about the hoodlums? Shouldn’t they be found and brought to justice?” I asked.
“You must stop believing that you can change the world,” my boss replied.
“I am injured pretty badly. Who will take care of the physical and emotional aftermath of this accident?” I asked but my boss failed to provide a straight answer.
To cut a long story short, I remained in hospital for twelve painful days. The surgery was conducted on the 10th day. I wish to point out that in that period my boss called a couple of times but no company representative (Boss, Front Office Manager, Lawyers, etc) came to visit me!
According to section 10.3 of the Greek work code regarding accidents at work, the company was obliged to register the incident to :
-The nearest Police Station Immediately.
-The Labour Inspectorate within 48 Hours.
-The health and work department (I.K.A.) within the first five days.
It is my understanding, NO report was written/submitted to any of the agencies above.
** For more information, follow this link: http://www.somtechnik.gr/Pravo/ErgAtyx.htm
When asked what will become of me, Mrs. Stathopoulou assured me over the phone that she would aid me in any way possible as long as I do not request the video recording of the events of the evening of August the 13th. I had no choice knowing full well that if I were to press charges the chances of maintaining my job were minimal.
I am scarred for life and continue to hurt. I am also experiencing sleep difficulties and signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. Despite the unbearable pain in my head, I found the power to return to work on the 14th of September only to find most of my colleagues criticizing and making a mockery of me thanks to my boss who (in an attempt to cover her extreme level of indifference and irresponsibility) had reached the conclusion and spread the message that everything that had occurred on the night of August the 13th was in fact my fault despite the fact that she denies it! I also wish to mention the management did not arrange to meet with me. Instead, they arranged a meeting with my colleague. I wonder what for? And last but not least, I was denied access to the video despite the fact that most of my colleagues viewed it over and over.
At work nothing has changed. We are now well into 2012 and the owners have still not come in contact with me. They haven’t even called to see how I am doing or if I am in need of further medicine, therapy and tests! The entire city block surrounding the ‘Athens Center Square Hotel’ continues to be overshadowed by prostitutes, drug users, traffickers, stray dogs and small time pick pockets and thieves.
On Monday, January 16, 2012 my boss informed me that I was required to sign a new employment contract – agreeing to a 25% reduction in my salary (Greek standards for private industry – already low). I did not agree.
Less than ten days later, and despite all my sufferings, I received a call at work informing me that I had been fired.