After a year at his first part-time job and torment from a coworker, Jordan Rody went to his manager to file a complaint.
He was just 17 years old and working his first job at a North London Pizza Hut. When delivery man Belal Sabir set out to harass her, she just tried to ignore him and move on.
But he couldn’t. After Rody botched an order by failing to put the right sauces on an order, Sabir, 28, started what a judge called “a campaign of workplace harassment” that left Rody feeling scared and vulnerable.
When he complained, his manager “didn’t take me seriously,” Rody said in an interview.
“They didn’t believe me. They did not review any evidence at work of what he was doing. They just shrugged and didn’t think to look.
“I was only 16, so they thought I just wanted something exciting to happen in the workplace.”
Sabir was convicted on Thursday of criminal harassment and three other charges related to him firing from the driver’s side window of the car Rody was driving with a pellet gun as he chased her on the streets of London after she left the house of her boyfriend shortly after 1 a.m. on August 21. , 2014.
A Daisy Red Ryder air rifle was found in the boot of Sabir’s car after she allowed it to be searched by police shortly after Rody’s terrifying experience on Oxford Street.
The convictions came after a circus of a two-day trial last week when Sabir represented himself without a lawyer, claimed Rody was harassing him, questioned the scope of the police investigation, accused vision officers of tunnel and said he was home at the time of the shooting.
The harassment began long before Sabir shot out of the car window. At the restaurant, he would bump into Rody for no reason. He would whisper that “there was murder in the air.” He threatened to break her kneecaps if her sisters kept coming to the restaurant to take her home. She once stood in her gaze with a kitchen knife in her hand.
After Rody’s initial complaint to his employer, his sister Taylor, who had worked at the restaurant, and their mother spoke to the manager, but the situation was written off as a “high school drama”.
“Having a girl talk to someone, especially her manager, about bullying in the workplace” is a big step, said Rody’s sister, Taylor. “That (the manager) doesn’t take it really seriously is a problem in itself.”
A Pizza Hut spokesman said the franchise owner responded to Rody’s complaint and responded quickly when Sabir damaged his car.
“Pizza Hut has strict policies against harassment in the workplace and does not tolerate employees who violate the policy,” said Andrew Ashton. “We are aware that a complaint was filed and that the franchisee took corrective action to prevent further harassment. The employee’s contract was terminated immediately after the incident two years ago.”
Barbara MacQuarrie, community director for the Center for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children at Western University’s College of Education, said Rody’s situation was frightening but not surprising.
“We know that young employees are the highest risk group for bullying,” he said.
The case of Theresa Vince of Chatham, who was murdered by her manager at a Sears store on her last day of work before retiring 20 years ago, is a reminder of how persistent torment in the workplace can have devastating results.
“We’ve had really serious cases in the past where seemingly low-level harassment escalated into serious violence,” MacQuarrie said. “It’s not news to us that bullying can escalate, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly.
“Even risk assessment experts have a hard time predicting how quickly a situation will escalate or exactly when it will escalate into violence.”
In Ontario, Bill 132 requiring impartial third-party investigations into allegations of workplace harassment has just entered into force. If a complainant is not satisfied with this investigation, he can go to the Ministry of Labor to verify it.
The process could help reduce bullying situations. “It is my full hope that this legislation saves lives,” MacQuarrie said.
There are also obligations for employers to train workers on how to identify harassment and how to file complaints. “We need employers to take this seriously,” MacQuarrie said.
High Court Judge Johanne Morissette had no problem convicting Sabir, as she believed Rody’s terrifying account of the shooting. “I don’t see any reason to doubt or question the credibility of his evidence,” she said.
Morissette said it appeared Sabir was “influenced by popular shows on TV” when he questioned police and his cross-examinations “were not relevant and in no way undermined the evidence I heard.”
Morissette dismissed the testimony of Sabir’s mother, who testified that she believed her son was home because the light in his bedroom was on.
I am happy that he is getting what he deserves and is paying the consequences.
“His testimony doesn’t put him in their crosshairs,” Morissette said, adding that her claim that Sabir usually returned from work at 11 p.m. was contradicted by Rody and another Pizza Hut employee called as a defense witness.
Sabir faces at least a year in jail for the weapons conviction alone.
His sentencing date will be scheduled in court monthly scheduling on October 11. Rody will write a victim impact statement and a pre-sentence report will be prepared for Sabir.
Morissette told Sabir that “it would be prudent” for her to hire a lawyer for her sentencing.
Rody said that he is happy that Sabir was convicted. “I am happy that he is getting what he deserves and is paying the consequences.”