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a fair deal?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Bedlam3, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    Supposing a teacher was offered an settlement agreement by their school to terminate their employment. How does the teacher know the SA is fair? Would their union push to ensure they settled for a fair amount or do unions just want to get a quick settlement to get the case off their workload and also to avoid having the added work and cost of a tribunal?

    Could the teacher go to an employment solicitor for a second opinion or would this upset the union and cause them to drop the case?

    Advice / thoughts would be very welcome. Has anyone been in this position and what did you do?
    After being so badly treated by my head I want to make sure the settlement is fair.
    Thank you.
  2. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    All I can say is what was once said to me in a totally hypothetical situation. The union person said "We'll ask for three months' pay. They'll suggest one month and we'll settle on two." As it happened, she was incorrect - hypothetically - and a larger amount was alledgedly offered and accepted. In theory, of course, I wouldn't want to violate any alledged NDA.
    However, it would make sense to think that the larger the amount offered, the more anxious the employer is about any legal action, and of you winning such an action, so they pay you off. This could also be influenced by any past dealings the employer has had with tribunals which have been lost or won. And as I understand it, if you take the SA, you can't go to tribunal.
    Furthermore, an SA can be only a token amount, such as £100.
    It sort of depends on your circumstances, too. How much do you need to tide you over until you can earn again? What wage do you earn currently? How long have you been at the school? Many variables.
    What does the union say? I would not want to think that they just want it to be over and done with, although some TESSERs may know differently.
    Good luck.
  3. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Advice from your Union. They will know what is the 'going rate'. It will depend on many factors (as mothorchild says) - and you can't/mustn't discuss those here.

    Good luck.
  4. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    Yes, as @FrankWolley says, don't give away anything on here. Your first post is carefully phrased, so I suspect this advice is not necessary, but it's still worth saying again.
    agathamorse and phlogiston like this.
  5. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Firstly, good luck and sorry things have turned out like this for you.
    Most SAs that I've heard of have had non-disclosure agreements, which I guess are partly to prevent a notion of a "going rate".
    The SA suggests the issues from the school's point of view are insufficient to justify a formal termination of employment. You therefore get some money to compensate you for loss of earnings and the impact of a dodgy looking break to your career.
    I would take union advice.
  6. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    There is some useful advice here. https://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4395 Note the bit about getting advice, which could be from a union. I had a CA (the predecessor to SAs) before I started teaching, and my employer paid for me to consult a solicitor. As I wanted to leave that profession anyway, I was more than happy to get some tax free cash out of it.

    As @FrankWolley points out, the union will know the going rate. However, a lot depends on how likely both sides think they are to win if it comes to a tribunal, or the time and money costs of dismissing you if it doesn't. There are all sorts of complications, such as could it be seen as illegal discrimination. Or there might not be any cash involved at all if the employer has a strong case or the employee really wants out and an agreed reference is the important result. A bit of a game of poker, I would say.

    Both employee and employer might wish to avoid a tribunal, as whichever way it goes, it is stressful and has potential implications for reputation.

    I am afraid that relying on union advice is probably the best course of action. Even if we had more details, which as has been said, you should not give, we still wouldn't know enough to help. If you can get a settlement and a good agreed reference, you have every chance of moving on, rather than having something hanging over your head. I hope this can happen. Good luck.
  7. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    Thanks everyone. It's awful really that an SA can be used to silence teachers. I suppose no one wants to end up in a tribunal - neither the employer, union or teacher. Who knows what a judges view might be on the day and what mood he/ she might be in.
    A lot of good advice for a teacher here to think about.
  8. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    Of course the very nature of these things dictates that SAs are secret, but it would be useful and in the interests of staff and possibly parents and pupils if schools had to report staff turnover and the number of SAs annually along with their other stats. If there is good management practice these really should not exist.
    mothorchid and agathamorse like this.
  9. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Yes, I take your point. However, from my own experience and that of others, an SA is a positive way of moving out of a nasty experience and starting again, along with getting some sompensation. If such agreements with NDAs were not possible, then it would put people through a lot more stress with the possibility of ending up with nothing.
    Bedlam3 and agathamorse like this.

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