September 1, 2008

SABIS Threats and Intimidation (and Lies) Round 4

Posted in SABIS/Choueifat tagged , , , at 11:23 am by stephshimkooo

Please refer to Round 3 for some background info:

Everything was calm for about two months. In April, E2 began making rounds in the schools to “talk to people about re-signing” but apparently meant it this time. Appointments were scheduled for all of us in 10 minute intervals.  C, R, and I were still all in the same school and had appointments right after each other.  C decided not to go at all because she was not interested in having them anywhere near her.  I decided to go out of professional courtesy.

The meetings were in another school and were already over an hour behind schedule, which mean we were no longer on school time; we were on our own time.  With us were two other girls who worked at the school but I hadn’t told about the list of people on temporary approval because one of them wasn’t on it (so she had approval), and the other was a tried and true SABIS spy so I didn’t trust to keep her quiet about who she heard the information from.  I didn’t want to compromise myself or my source.

I was the last in line.  All of the other people were told (this was MAY mind you.  The drama with all of us being unqualified had come to light in FEBRUARY) that since they did not have three years of experience and a relevant teaching degree, they could not work in the PPP anymore.  They were to be offered positions in Choueifat International Schools throughout the Middle East as soon as they had an idea of what openings they had and where.

Then it was my turn.  I went into the room and saw E1 sitting behind a large desk surrounded by files.  I sat down in a chair in front of the desk and greeted him.  I was alone in the room with E1.

He was civil enough at the beginning, and started with a story about how a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away, the PPP in Abu Dhabi began.  He traced the program and the history of SABIS from its roots and continued to chat until my mind started to drift.  After a while I asked him what he would like to speak to me about.  He said he was getting to that.  At this point his tone changed.  A glimmer came into his eyes and he started so smile.  He looked me straight in the eye, parted his lips and said,

“You and your friends disssssssGUST me.”

“Disgust you. Wow.” I nodded.

“Yes, disgust me.”

The Feeling I Inspire

The Feeling I Inspire

He continued to rain verbal abuse upon me and my personality, never once mentioning the quality of the work that I did or any of the successful projects that I had started in the school. The very first moment he started to tell me about what a bad person I was, how intolerant and selfish, all I could think about was how sorry I felt for him. He had obviously been waiting for this opportunity, this moment when there were no other people to witness the things he said to me. He went on for about 5-10 minutes. I sat, legs crossed, and nodded until I started getting bored. I asked him if there was anything else that he wanted to discuss, and he moved it along.

“So, as you know, you are not qualified to stay on in the PPP, and because of your behavior, I will make sure that you never work for another Choueifat school anywhere, ever!” He grinned ear to ear as he dropped my file onto the table. He was almost giddy when he cupped his face in his hands and asked “So, what are you going to do?”

“I would like a letter of no objection (LON), please.” I answered.

His reaction to this was, to say the least, negative. He again called me names and made comments about my character such as my arrogance and marveled at how I had the nerve to ask him for that. The letter of no objection is a standard form when an employee has fulfilled his or her duties amicably and finished a contract.

He then said that if he were to give me a LON, he wouldn’t do so until the end of the year after I had finished my duties. I told him that was when I expected it. He calmed down significantly after that.

He then began to tell me other tales about reasons why I didn’t need a LON, and that if a school really wanted me, they would pay 5,000 Dirhams for me (there is a 6 month work ban after finishing a contract, and that is the fee to have it lifted), so there was no need. I told him I wanted to do everything legally this time. He said he would consider giving me the letter, but then had an epiphany! He told me that I was not a SABIS employee; I was an ADEC employee! Therefore he could not give one and I would have to contact ADEC in order to get one, and that they can take a very long time. He was grinning again by the end of this. I asked him if there was anything else he needed to address with me, and he said no.

“One last thing,” I said. “Do you know D?”

“D? D the boys’ teacher?” he replied. D was one of the only people qualified to come back to the PPP for the following year.

“Yes. I’m sure you know that he and I are together.”

“What do you mean, ‘together?”

“We are in a relationship.”

“No, I didn’t know that.” He seemed to consider this.

“Well I just assumed since the HR department called him to ‘persuade’ me to move earlier this year that our relationship was known,” which was the truth.

E1 then went on to explain about how he didn’t concern himself with people’s relationships outside of work unless he saw a bright, shining star being pulled down by negative people around him, which I believe to be a poorly disguised but clever metaphor for me dragging D down with my obvious laziness and negativity.

Remember, I was alone in the room with E1 for this entire conversation. I have no one to witness what was said to me, and neither does he. I’m sure if he is ever asked about it, he will deny it. I can’t believe it happened even as I write this. All I can do is shake my head and feel sorry for these people who have no other option but to work for this company.

The following Sunday, D had his meeting with E1. He called me afterwards to tell me how it went. *Both D and E1 are native Arabic speakers, so the conversation took place in Arabic. This is D’s general account of the meeting as he told me in English* He said that his negotiations were more or less pleasant, and that he agreed to consider re-signing with them. At the end he said, “We need to talk about Stephanie Shimko.”

E2 smiled and agreed. He then said that I was a “lovely girl” and “like his little daughter” and that he would never let anything to happen to me. He said that he wanted to “teach me a lesson in manners” for “being so rude to him” and that was the reason for his attitude at my meeting the week before.

When he told me this over the phone, my kneejerk reaction was to scream “F*** HIM!” at the top of my lungs. It just sort of fell out of my mouth. Unbelievable. How professional and humane. I do not yet have children, but I doubt I will ever tell them that they “disgust me.”

I also found out from a few other people that during their “re-signing” meeting, some of those that were unqualified (43 out of 50) were told that they could not be re-hired “because of what Stephanie said.” Even then, SABIS executive staff would not take the blame for hiring people outside of ADEC’s specifications, and in my opinion those specifications are not that narrow. They STILL did not take responsibility for their actions. Manners indeed.

PLEASE think carefully before working for this company.

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6 Comments »

  1. fireglo said,

    I miss E1 to be honest. What a character! It’s people like him that make me want to study psychology.

    Why is he the way he is? He needs a serious psychological evaluation and medication coupled with heavy doses of something where he gets shocked alot.

    You have to experience him to believe it.

  2. Choueifat NEVER provides NOC (no objection certificates) to anyone, no matter how long you work for them, how much they like you, etc. They consider leaving to be some sort of deception. Consider yourself lucky. Go get that teaching certification, and find a job that will be more intellectually and financially rewarding.

  3. Mary Smith said,

    wrong i know many who have, why talk about something you know nothing about Ciaran (god bless the internet—-an unregulated anonymous forum for idiots to give their “expert opinion”

  4. Laurie Belvin said,

    I do not think people realize how manipulative and evil a company can be. Sabis is scary. I got a contract from Sabis recently that I could not sign. I do not think it would even be legal in the US. It would allow Sabis to decide what I did 24 hours per day 7 days per week for 10 months and did not guarantee pay because Sabis could fine me any amount at their discretion. Worse yet, I could owe them a huge amount of money if I left the job for ANY reason (over $12,000). This would have to be paid or they could hold my passport! This was the worst of the contract, but the rest was bad, too. Sabis said this was standard for the industry, but if it is, I need to find some other type of work!

    • bah humbug said,

      So you wouldn’t recommend it? I had a phone interview 2 weeks ago and I’ve been really looking forward to it..
      Not so sure after reading this but I still think it would be a good opportunity to see another part of the world..
      I’m a final year student with no teaching experience..
      So no positives to anyones experience?????

  5. snow said,

    I do not think people realize how manipulative and evil a company can be. Sabis is scary. I got a contract from Sabis recently that I could not sign. I do not think it would even be legal in the US. It would allow Sabis to decide what I did 24 hours per day 7 days per week for 10 months and did not guarantee pay because Sabis could fine me any amount at their discretion. Worse yet, I could owe them a huge amount of money if I left the job for ANY reason (over $12,000). This would have to be paid or they could hold my passport! This was the worst of the contract, but the rest was bad, too. Sabis said this was standard for the industry, but if it is, I need to find some other type of work!

    Please note there was a law passed in 2009, that no employer can hold a foreigner’s passport. In fact, the only country that can hold passports is Saudi Arabia during the time of Hajj. You have every right to hold your passport at all times. Its is quite odd that this company would ask for your passport, have you thought about contacting SABIS Head office?


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