A disruptive and unacceptable chain of events was precipitated by the delivery of a sausage to the Housing Office at Spelrow County Council, Main Building.
The following notes are an accurate transcript of how this situation unfolded and was resolved, and are recorded to provide a precedent with regard to processed-meat-based scenarios.
- Wednesday 21st June, 2017
A package with a disconcerting bulge was received and receipted by Ian Fassbrook (IF), the Housing Department intern, at 9:46 a.m., addressed to Vicky Newton (VN), Housing Association Relationships Officer. IF walked to VN’s desk with the package in hand, after picking it up using the mandated Knee-Bend First method for which he received training 11/5/17, available to view in his Personal Progression as a Person Not Just an Employee Handbook (PPPNJEH).
The package was placed in the Inbox Tray of VN, as she was on Annual Leave. “I am on annual leave” Post-It notes were displayed liberally on the Inbox and Outbox trays, and by ignoring them, IF was found to be in breach of Annual Leave Inbox Succession Protocol (ALISP) which states that the package should have been handed to the next available agent in the team at VN’s paygrade. This would have been Officer Chitpa Seema (CS), who denies any interaction with IF. CS states for the record that she would certainly have noticed a man carrying such a package if he had intended to show it to her, in fact that she is always on the lookout for such a thing.
IF was placed on probation, and a Re-Education Meeting was scheduled for 8:30a.m. 23/6/17 with HR Officer Tracey Smalley (TS) and Line Manager Aretha Limasol (AL).
- Friday 23rd June, 2017
All parties (IF, TS, AL) attended IF’s Probationary Re-Education Meeting and the outcome was deemed Satisfactory after IF was judged to have shown the Minimum Level of Contrition for the Committed Transgression (MLCCT), and it was agreed that the probationary period of his unpaid internship would be extended by three months to allow for additional observation.
During the meeting IF raised the point that the package was still sitting in the unmanned inbox of VN at this present local time, and asked whether or not it should be opened in case it was important to the business of the department. TS agreed she would look into the procedure for opening a package addressed to an absent member of staff and report back by close of business in three working days.
TS asked for the return date of VN, but AL deemed it inappropriate to violate the privacy of VN and her annual leave status in front of IF. IF announced without provocation that VN was in Ayia Napa with her girlfriend and would be back on Monday 3rd July. AL and TS agreed that this was a multiple violation of VN’s rights to privacy, and IF was chastised, and dismissed from the meeting.
After an Emergency Intern Termination Meeting (EITM) between TS, AL and Director Nigel Nigelson (NN), IF was relieved of his status as an unpaid intern, and was removed by security. IF’s possessions (phone, house keys, bus pass) were tagged and bagged by security and placed in Outgoing Mail.
IF attempted re-entry to the office and made several verbal complaints relating to not being able to get home or enter his house, but was stopped by security. IF raised his voice and was tasered and carried off the site by police as per protocol.
Several employees were emotionally shaken after witnessing IF’s violent attempt at re-entry and disruption, and were placed on immediate Extended Recuperation Leave (ERL) by AL, and in addition were offered in-house counselling.
- Tuesday 27th June 2017
TS emailed AL with the news that the package may be opened regardless of VN’s annual leave status, as after several meetings it was deemed the property did not belong to her at this time and was a business item.
AL approached the package and donned the safety gear as required by HR policy (details on intranet). AL complained that she couldn’t see through the goggles as they were badly scratched, so CS was asked to be her eyes and direct her gloved hands towards the package. CS approached AL from behind and snaked her arms out in front of AL from under AL’s armpits, after which AL loudly directed CS, and after several attempts, they coordinated well enough to get the envelope open.
On opening, the contents were: one sausage (big, bendy), cooked and plastic-wrapped in retail packaging, possibly of Spanish origin. A member of the Social Care team spotted the sausage and deemed it a chorizo. AL asked the team member if she herself was Spanish, to which the team member replied in the negative. AL accused the team member of cultural appropriation, and later emailed the Director of Social Care about this breach of racial etiquette in line with the Council’s Everyone Has The Right To Be Offended On Behalf Of Their Identity Or Assumed Identity policy (CENSURE).
On seeing the sausage, CS fainted, overcome by her proximity to the meat. CS has previously registered her vegetarian status with HR and ticked the box that allows us to consider it in interactions with her. All First Aid First Responders (FAFFERS) were at lunch or offsite, so AL attempted to pick CS up and put her in her office chair. AL did not use the Knee-Bend First method and screamed in pain at the weight of CS, staggering around the office, clutching her lower back. AL made a verbal note to report herself for violation of Manual Handling protocol later, after she had stopped screaming.
At this moment other members of the Social Care team rushed over to help the stricken Housing employees.
While lifting CS into her chair, a male member of Social Care brushed her left breast with his hand and was immediately placed under Sexual Harassment Investigation by Director NN, who saw this violation, having come out of his office on hearing the screaming and the body of CS hitting the floor. The male pleaded innocence, but was escorted out of the building as per protocol. His desk items were tagged and bagged and placed in Outgoing Mail.
NN spotted the sausage and confirmed that it was indeed chorizo. AL was too busy screaming in back pain to accuse him of cultural appropriation, so the matter passed without comment, but for pain reasons, not for reasons of gender, hierarchy or cronyism. Also NN pointed out that it said “chorizo sausage” on the package, and so we can assume therefore that this information was willingly supplied by the presumably Spanish-origin manufacturers for the consumption of other groups, minority or otherwise (majority).
As CS was now fully alert—and it must be noted, traumatised at having been assaulted twice in a minute (once by meat, once by a male)—she explained to NN the reason for the sausage being in the office, i.e. it was sent to VN by persons unknown.
NN proceeded to make proclamations as befit a Director:
NN said the sausage constituted a gift and must be registered.
NN said the sausage constituted a potential threat and must be analysed.
NN said the sausage constituted a ticking time bomb in terms of potential protocol violations, and must be photographed in case evidence of its size, shape or presence in the inbox was needed. NN offered CS counselling for the two assaults, and Extended Recuperation Leave, duly accepted and planned for the following two weeks.
Two complaints were then made my members of the Social Care team, aurally received by NN and partially by AL despite her gritted teeth and hissing (lower back pain). The first related to the perceived harsh treatment of the team member who was accused of sexual harassment—this was scoffed at and ignored per protocol. The second related to the sausage itself: the item was described as “phallic” and “protuberant”, and had caused a member of the Social Care team to be reminded of her childhood sexual abuse near-miss. She was offered Extended Recuperation Leave by her director. The team member demanded the removal of the item in case of further triggering/nostalgic upset.
The Housing Team had an Impromptu Desk-Based Discussion (IDD) about the misogynist overtones of the sausage and the motives behind the gifting of it to VN. It was deemed that this item was likely sent to intimidate VN, or to inspire an association between the sender and a large sausage i.e. phallus, as an implicit invite to sexual congress (assumed unwanted due to VN’s classified sexual orientation status). To be completely safe, a full investigation was ordered into the sausage, and an anonymous survey was created with the Anonymous Survey Creation Tool (ASC—IT!) regarding staff feelings about the penis/sausage relationship, and if the sending of the sausage should be considered an act of sexist abuse.
The sausage was placed in a plastic bag with tongs by CS, who retched throughout due to her meat sensitivity. Afterwards she was comforted by passing Council staff, and sent to the local Walk-In medical centre for a full examination. The sausage was placed in a special compartment of the fridge in the lunch room (unused vegetable crisper), which was then taped shut to prevent interference or accidental theft and ingestion. The official Council Photographer was booked for Thursday 29th June.
- Thursday 29th of June
The sausage was photographed liberally from a variety of angles, including a shot where the photographer placed it against his thigh to demonstrate the similarity to a large, flaccid penis. This was difficult for the photographer to stage, so CS was asked to help by holding the sausage in place. Afterwards, CS was noticeably flushed, presumably from further meat exposure. Photographs were stored digitally in the folder “20170629_Mystery_Sausage_Gift_Status_Unknown_Sender_Unknown_Sexist_Overtones_Unknownbutprobable”.
The sausage pack was opened by NN with due caution (lunch room cleared, gloves, facemask and goggles donned), and a part was cut off for testing at the police laboratory on the third floor. NN noted the smell (strong) and waved frantically at AL through the glass window of the door for the smell to be documented. AL didn’t understand the signals and opened the door slightly so she could hear NN. However, his facemask further prevented understanding, so AL moved closer and, unmasked, was exposed to the aroma given off by the sausage. AL noted loudly that she was exposed, and noted the properties of the smell (strong), and ran from the lunch room in severe emotional distress.
After NN was clear of the lunch room and out of the safety gear, AL was debriefed about her exposure to the unknown gas released from the sausage. AL was comforted and rebuked, booked in to Hazardous Substance Handling training, and was given the number for the counselling services, and the rest of the day off to monitor for possible symptoms.
- Friday 30th June
The lab report was received, and the item confirmed to be a sausage, with no other notable characteristics. Smell level and size were deemed normal for this type of sausage. Sausage was labelled “non-threatening”.
AL disputed the threat level assigned to the sausage and telephoned the police lab on the third floor and asked what the meat was screened for. AL states the officer replied that the sausage had been screened for drugs and explosives, and the results were negative.
NN deemed it unacceptable that the sausage had not also been screened for engineered viruses or biological agents and telephoned the police lab. AL documented the twenty-minute conversation (NN’s half and some of what she could hear shouted at him from the other end of the line). This discussion culminated in NN asking that the item be incinerated securely. The officer screamed that the lab was a crime lab for (expletive redacted) sake, and that they didn’t have an incinerator because they weren’t a (expletive redacted) hospital, and could NN (expletive-command redacted) as they had actual police work to do?
NN said this wasn’t acceptable, and that he would recommend the termination of the lease agreement for the third floor, renewal of which was currently being mooted, at his next Council Business meeting. The officer then seemed to have a change of heart and offered to ask the Anti-Terror Squad (also on Floor Three) to (expletive deleted) explode the sausage for NN, and asked NN if this would increase his sense of wellbeing. NN replied in the positive, and confirmed that this course of action should proceed.
The sausage was detonated in a controlled explosion at 15:30pm outside the main entrance to the Council premises. Several complaints were received about the location as it blocked access in and out of the building for customers and staff for 45 minutes, however the Chief Police Laboratory Technician denoted that it was necessary to perform the task there so that “as many people as possible could see the sausage destroyed, so they may rest easy in their beds knowing the police are being utilised effectively for their protection”.
An investigation into excessive use of sarcasm by law enforcement tenants was ordered to commence by NN on Monday 3rd July.
- Monday 3rd July
VN returned from Annual Leave and was briefed on events. VN revealed that the sausage was ordered by herself from an online grocery outlet before she left for Annual Leave and accidentally shipped to her work address. She seemed distressed that the sausage was exploded.
AL and NN placed VN on Extended Paid Suspension for no longer than sixteen weeks while a full investigation was conducted, and to allow for private meetings to determine what re-education VN must undergo to prevent such an operational mistake being made going forward.
A newsletter about the sausage incident is forthcoming, and new policies regarding receipt of goods, meat-handling, gifts, and objects that look like penises will be live on the intranet by close of play Friday 14h July.
- Former intern IF and an unnamed Social Care team member have acted in a very undignified manner with regards to this correctly-handled episode and have contacted two newspapers for reasons unknown—any employee fielding calls from journalists are asked to reply “no comment”. Our Press Department is fully briefed to deal with enquiries. Please refrain also from disseminating the online tabloid article, “Cor-izo! ‘Threatening’ sausage blown in full view of public by council director”.