Updated: Sep 5
(See also https://www.leightonassociates.co.nz/post/a-risky-executive-appointment-by-karen-davis , 26 July 2020).
Ana is a mature student who recently spent a few years working in retail.
Before her time at a Tauranga retail store, which she recently left on good terms, Ana worked at a local hospital. Her relationship with her manager at the hospital, “Gordon”, was poor (see photo above).
Not long after settling into her retail job, Ana saw Gordon loitering in the carpark at the rear of the building where she worked which was unusual because there are usually plenty of parking spaces available at the front. She suspected he was stalking her.
There were more such incidents and eventually some of Ana’s colleagues started to recognise him, or his car. Ana had even been tipped off by text message by colleagues who had seen him.
Back at the hospital Ana was a Cardiac Physiologist, and she was forced into low paid work as a result of the breakdown in the relationship with her manager – the subject of separate proceedings currently in the Employment Court. Because (we allege) Gordon was stalking her, that leads us to believe he also blacklisted her to prevent her from working in the profession. We suspect that Gordon was visiting the retail store carpark either to gloat over the destruction of her professional career, or find out if she had gone back to her native South Africa, or both.
As soon as she was able, and despite some fear of Gordon as the stalking was continuing, Ana took photos of Gordon loitering in the rear carpark, and sent them to a well known employment advocate, who posted them to his company’s Facebook page. Ana was also interviewed by Radio New Zealand.
Gordon’s employer, the hospital, sued both Ana and the advocate in the ERA including for breaching Gordon’s privacy. Gordon, through his employer’s lawyer, denied stalking and claimed he was only there for coffee at a nearby cafe, although the aerial view of the building suggests otherwise. As far as Ana knows, the stalking ceased after the photos were publicised and the hospital sued her. In February 2019 the ERA sent the hospital’s claim to the Employment Court where the matter is yet to be heard.
Leighton Associates has taken the precaution of obscuring Gordon’s face and his car’s number plate because we don’t want to invite a claim, however frivolous and meritless such a claim would be! On the RHS of the main photo is a roller door and before we cropped it, it showed an awning above the roller door. That same awning can be seen in the Google Earth image. The arrow shows roughly where his car was parked, on the opposite side of the building to where the cafe is.
Employment litigation is never nice but we find this matter exceptionally strange. How did a stalker get so brazen that he felt comfortable parking his distinctive car at the workplace of the “stalkee”? Is his boss the CEO overstepping the mark by using public money trying to avoid embarrassment by burying a retail assistant in legal costs? Or does the hospital have a legitimate beef with Ana? What did the hospital’s lawyer advise, and was she listened to? Does the stalker still have his job?
What would you do if you were being stalked by a former manager you’d fallen out with?
I guess we’ll have to wait for the Employment Court to sort this one out!
*Boss = The Chief Executive of the hospital - the stalker’s boss - who may or may not have been misled.