Rameela Ayesha, a graphic designer based in Lahore, has accused Journal Post, an international news media website, for not paying their employees.

According to Rameela, she joined Journal Post right after graduating from University as a graphic designer.  She was told that she would be provided conveyance along with a salary of Rs 45000. Initially things were going fine, with Rameela saying:

“During the first month of employment we were told that the company does not pay the first month’s pay by the end of the first month. It is paid by the last week of the second month so as to make sure an employee does not leave without giving a notice of 30 days. Since that was company protocol, I accepted it as such. By the second month of employment I received my first salary in full.”

However, after the company started to have some financial issues, and started to downsize and cut their budget. By this point, Rameela had not been paid her third month. She says, “…..every time I asked I was told I would receive it in a week, or “2-4 din tak jub yeh PayPal ka issue resolve hojaye”.

Then things only became worse

At the beginning of her forth month of employment, the Editor-In-Chief, who had been there for 2 years, had left without notice. Rameela was given his tasked, presented to her like a “golden opportunity”. However, there was no mention of drafting a new contract or for a raise. She was told though that  would receive royalties for each article she edited and published.The CEO was asking her to come into the office all the time, even though she was not getting paid.

By now, Rameela thought about leaving the job has it was not fitting her scheduled, so she decided to seek advice from a former editor-in-chief.

She was told that this isn’t the first time this had happened, and that they refused to pay their employees.

On the 15th October 2018, Rameela decided to inform the company of her intention to leave. She talked to the now CFO of Journal Post, Hamna Shahid and Murtaza Nasir, the CEO’s brother. However, the next day, Murtaza asked Rameela to check her mail. The CEO had sent her a termination letter.

Rameela said, ” Shortly after I received a call from Aavish Bilal Nasir (CEO), he began yelling and saying that I was responsible for his business having problems, that I had “talked shit” about him to Hamna and others, and he would not pay me even if I came to the meeting. He would ruin me and I should send him a written apology.”

After cutting the call, Rameela threatened legal actions

At this point they calmed down and said they would resolve the problem. She agreed only if she didn’t have to talk to the CEO again. However, a week later her case was handed over to Rana Usman, the co-founder and Head of HR Shahbaz Sahi.

“When Shahbaz told me to come in for a meeting I inquired if I would be paid on that day, but he flat out refused and said I would have to resolve the “argument” with the CEO. I told him to call me in on a day that the payments would be made….After this Rana Umair told me that he would not be part of this anymore as he expected me to come to a meeting” Rameela alleges.

Head of HR then began to handle her payment, telling her to write an apology, which she did. They arranged a meeting with the CEO on the condition that she would be paid for her work that day. However, they would constantly delay the meeting, giving one excuse of another. Then when they did set up a meeting, they had not no documentation nor her payment ready, again delaying the process.

After Rameela asked again, they said they were preparing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and that she would get Rs. 78000 of her salary on the condition she signed it. She asked for the document to be sent to her, but that did not happened either. Journal Post would allegedly come up with excuses.

January 2019
June 2019

It has been nearly a year, and Rameela has yet to be paid

Rameela had enough and put up a status on Facebook about the unprofessional environment Journal Post had. After doing so, she received a number of messages from former employees saying they went through the same thing.

It’s sad how common it has become for companies, especially media companies, to not pay their employees. If these allegations are true, Journal Post, which was once considered a success story for startups, has fallen far from their tremendous beginnings. Let’s hope Journal Post is able to rectify their mistakes before their company falters.