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Complaints against HR?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Magpie61, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. Magpie61

    Magpie61 New commenter

    My HR manager called me in for an informal meeting to discuss my start back to term. This was because last year a physical assault by a pupil on another staff member in my room had triggered my pre-existing PTSD (that had been dormant for 14years). I had not taken any time off but had requested help with counseling through the school (which was denied as it would be too costly).
    I was expecting a supportive, informal meeting but this did not happen and HR ended up giving me a lecture on budget cuts instead. I stopped the meeting and left as HR had clearly lost the plot and said some very personal insulting things about me. I reported this to my union and sent a copy of my version of the events to SLT. Initially they made noises about having a meeting with HR and myself to move forward. She is now refusing to meet with me and SLT will not discuss it. My union rep is great but I feel like he would prefer me to just leave it. I am torn between leaving it and fighting my corner as I feel that my mental health was used against me and that this is so wrong. What would you do???
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  2. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    My reaction is...don't drop it ...pursue it (with union advice and action etc and don't forget that you pay Union rep's expense etc )that you as if nothing else it might deter them from selecting you as a target in future...... In this meeting with HR when they acted so unprofessionally were you alone? My advice in future is always take someone in with you to make notes so as to back up your minutes and account of a meeting.
  3. Magpie61

    Magpie61 New commenter

  4. Magpie61

    Magpie61 New commenter

    Thanks, yes I was alone as I was told it was an informal catch up. As soon as I felt uncomfortable I told her that I didn't want to continue without my union rep. She then marched out and into an SLT office where she announced that I was refusing to continue. I have tried to arrange a meeting through my union and initially she agreed but as soon as she saw the agenda the meeting was cancelled. We are unclear why but the Head informed us that she would have the meeting with me instead. I have said that this misses the point and that the Head is not able to answer my questions about the way HR treated me. According to my union rep I cannot force HR to come to a meeting with me
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    You have a difficult dilemma. On one hand you need professional counselling which the school sees as costly. I don't agree, however, with the way the HR manager spoke to you nor the way your case was handled. I wonder if the school has insurance for something like this? Perhaps they need to look into getting insurance that would cover your situation.

    The problem you have is that if you continue with this, it is only going to cause you more stress which you definitely do not need.

    Would you be able to get counselling elsewhere? For example, through the Education Support Partnership?
  6. Magpie61

    Magpie61 New commenter

    I am lucky and am now in an NHS PTSD counseling program which is going well. I initially asked for help from school in June as the NHS said the waiting list would be 6 months to a year . Luckily a vacancy came up in September and I am feeling much better. Bizarrely school does not trigger me and I am actually better when I am teaching.
    I just feel so angry that I was treated badly by HR and that it is being brushed under the carpet.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Did they offer other strategies? I wouldn't expect counselling to be the first option on offer.

    For example:
    • if anxious you have the option to call for support so you can leave the room in the knowledge that you have a designated back-up
    • your door must always be left open
    • you will get frequent pop-in visits from various members of staff to check you're doing OK
    I absolutely wouldn't expect this to go straight to counselling. Did you offer alternatives? Did HR? Did the offer a referral to Occupational Health?

    So you have to pursue it for your peace of mind. They were rude and personal and brought budgets into it. Not your concern. A form of bullying.

    What can you reasonably expect? A referral to OH rather than HR. Recognition of your difficulties. Strategies to enable you to feel more comfortable in the working environment. No further mention of budgets and no personal remarks.
  8. Magpie61

    Magpie61 New commenter

    You are totalIy right and i was expecting to discuss all those things in the original meeting but she didn't. The Head is now doing my HR stuff and she was great. I have now been offered OH but as school doesn't trigger me (except for the unprofessional approach of HR) I am putting that on hold for now.
    Really my dilemma is whether to proceed with a formal complaint against HR
    pepper5 likes this.
  9. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    If it was just you and the HR person present in the meeting, the honest truth is that there is very little point in perusing this.

    You’ll say she was rude, she’ll say she wasn’t . There’s not a lot anybody can’t do about that, unions and HTs included. Maybe somebody’s already had a quiet word with her about this anyway.

    Concentrate on the future and move on. (Maybe take somebody with you if you have to attend any further such meetings).
  10. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Can you raise a grievance against the HR rep.?

    NB I've said before, I'll say again..If I were still working I'd secretly record any meeting I had with a superior. Just in case.
  11. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    But it was an incident at school that triggered it!
    Plus the abruptness later from HR didn't help!
    So that's two things at school that have got you down. And classroom violence could, one supposes, happen again. Unless there are now bouncers in every room.

    Take up the OH offer. By declining it you put yourself in a position of looking as if it either wasn't really that important in the first place or that you simply won't make any effort to help yourself. That's how shelving it could be portrayed later.

    You risk being seen as uncooperative and not nearest about any of it!

    Please take the OH offer. I don't see why you wouldn't. Much good is reported in these parts about OH.
    agathamorse likes this.
  12. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    As HR person has declined to discuss it with you any further the way forward, doing things 'by the book', is to raise a grievance. Get union advice before you do it, insist on their support, and read the school Grievance Policy so you know what will happen and the timescales and the process you need to follow.

    Probably your grievance would be heard by the head. A formal meeting with you and HR person there stating your positions. Grievance processes usually ask you state what you want the outcome of the grievance hearing to be. Discuss with your union rep what it's realistic to ask for. Anything more than an apology is unlikely now that you have obtained counselling through another route and an OH referral has been offered.

    Before going down formal grievance route consider how you will feel if your grievance is not upheld. It's always hard to predict the outcome when it was just the two of you in the room. No witnesses, no documents, no record of what was said can easily end up as a series of "You said" -- "No I didn't" arguments that are unresolvable. You could end up with one of those non-apologies that looks like an apology but actually still says you were at fault - "I'm sorry you misunderstood what I said" :mad:
    Pomza likes this.
  13. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    Though if you did and produced such a recording at this stage you could well find yourself in a far worse position.
    catbefriender likes this.
  14. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    I think that having recorded a conversation without the knowledge or consent of the other party involved could end up causing more problems for the person raising any complaint/grievance...
    catbefriender and grumpydogwoman like this.
  15. princesslegend

    princesslegend Occasional commenter

    Do NOT drop it.
    Her behaviour was appalling and you deserve better than that. HR are meant to help us - budget cuts AREN'T your problem so why she would choose to tell you about them is baffling. It was unprofessional. She wouldn't think twice of holding you to account had you behaved this way so don't allow her to get away with it.

    Bullies need to be dealt with.
  16. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I'd wait until the person had denied saying what they said, and then say: 'I didn't want to mention this, but when I got home I discovered that I'd accidentally set my phone to record (it's a new one and I'm not very good with it), and amongst what I recorded was this....' and press 'play'. :D
  17. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    I would challenge it but be prepared for her to completely deny it. This will be upsetting for you but hopefully it will go on her record in case of any future incidents with anyone else. She might have previous history of it who knows.
    I'm sorry this happened to you. I have found some HR advisors get a kind of kick out of having this attitude and think they are untouchable.
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    Really, really do not do this.

    You stand a chance of being accused of misconduct.
    Pomza likes this.
  19. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Has anybody ever done this for real? In the middle of a school day? I know phones are complicated, but I can't see how one could do this accidentally. Or can anybody tell me they really have made this mistake?
    caterpillartobutterfly and Pomza like this.
  20. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I really would not advice taking it further, unfair though this seems. If there were no witnesses, the HR person would simply deny rudeness, possibly claiming that you were ruse instead. I know we don't want to see bullies getting away with it, but you need better evidence of this to nail one.

    Of course, if there were other complaints about the same person, there would be more of a case. A bully seldom bullies just one person. Can you make discreet enquiries with trusted colleagues?

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