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Don't know if I'm brave enough to do this.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by RedQuilt, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    Hello,
    Sorry to do this through a new username but I'm pretty worried about letting my identity slip.
    I've had a lot of trouble at work lately and have had to seek advice from my Union. Their advice, their only advice, is to go through my workplace's formal grievance procedure. The trouble is that this would be against my line manager and they are not the nicest of people. I have already been made ill by them and fear that undertaking a formal complaint would only make things harder/impossible for me.
    The Union rep (regional, not local) said that I had two choices 1) complain and put a stop to it or 2) put up with it.
    He was less that forthcoming and I found him very difficult to speak to because he was so blunt about it. I thought that part of the Union role was to support their members but perhaps I got that wrong.
    Would YOU complain about your boss?
     
  2. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    Hello,
    Sorry to do this through a new username but I'm pretty worried about letting my identity slip.
    I've had a lot of trouble at work lately and have had to seek advice from my Union. Their advice, their only advice, is to go through my workplace's formal grievance procedure. The trouble is that this would be against my line manager and they are not the nicest of people. I have already been made ill by them and fear that undertaking a formal complaint would only make things harder/impossible for me.
    The Union rep (regional, not local) said that I had two choices 1) complain and put a stop to it or 2) put up with it.
    He was less that forthcoming and I found him very difficult to speak to because he was so blunt about it. I thought that part of the Union role was to support their members but perhaps I got that wrong.
    Would YOU complain about your boss?
     
  3. I did (with 2 colleagues) it was horrible, the grievance wasn't upheld but things are a bit better now because the governors are keeping an eye on things. I wouldn't rule it out but try everything else first. We have a Respect at Work policy which covers most of the issues but even though the first page says that the manangement should make all staff aware of the policy and its requirements I knew nothing about it (it was buried in an obscure corner of the whole school network). Your school may have something similar - anti harrassment or anti bullying policies perhaps.
    Good Luck
     
  4. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    How much evidence to you have? If it is a case of he/she said then it is a very risky move.
     
  5. Hi - I sympathise with you, in a similar situation. My ability to teach was questioned in front of a group recently in a deliberate effort to undermine me, which was a new low. I am trying to stand up to the attempts to bully me, but clearly I'm not doing it strongly enough because they won't stop. If it continues on this scale I will be making a formal complaint. I don't want to, but am not going to tolerate much more of it. The very best of luck to you, I hope we both get out of this situation soon.

    MTV
     
  6. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    No, it's not just verbal, there's written evidence and witnesses too. I reckon it's still a risky move even with that evidence.
    Having said that, it's not reasonable to have to put up with it any more so I have to do something or else I'm, essentially, allowing it to happen to me.
    Arrgghh!
     
  7. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    I wouldn't rely on witnessess as there is a chance they may be intimidated. I'd take all your evidence to a solicitor that specialises in employment disputes and see how strong it is. If things go wrong and it gets worse you might need to go to an employment tribunal.
    I'd chat to your union again and see if there is a possibility of mediation. If that doesn't work you could then file a grievance and it would give you further evidence to show you tried.
     
  8. Sorry if this seems blunt, but you must take the advice ofyour union rep and make a decision. They cannot help you unless you take out a formal grievance as there is no inherent right for them to get involved until you do so.

    Once you take out a formal grievance the union can come in and protect and support you.
     
  9. I don't know what union you are with but IMHO they are being incredibly unhelpful. I have been badly bullied at work and have been off sick for seven months. I haven't been well enough to put in a grievance, I'm still not and have been advised by my union not to until I am mentally strong enough. My union are being incredibly supportive and have accompanied me to meetings and give helpful and friendly, advise via email, phone and in person whenever I need it.

    Sorry I know that doesn't help you but just wanted to point out that what the previous poster said isn't necessarily true. Try phoning the Teacher Support Network for some support and advise if your union is being unhelpful.
     
  10. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    That was my reaction actually. The first person I spoke to said that they would come to any meetings etc because I clearly wasn't up to coping with that on my own. They also said a number of other things that the man I ended up with. I don't think he realises quite how badly affected I am by the situation.
    I do realise I need to take their advice though but will wait until I'm strong enough to deal with it. Obviously, if things continue to carry on the way they have been then I'll ring and ask for some more support from the union.
    It really shouldn't be as difficult as this, should it?
    Thank you for your relies and advice, I appreciate it.
     
  11. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    You have been given some great wisdom from earlier posters. It shouldn't be that way but others' experiences show that to make a complaint is often to place youself in a very vulnerable position in which you are further targeted.
    So, in answer to your original question - would I complain? Yes, I would, but only after I had done some careful groundwork by finding out what the full implications might be, planning carefully each stage and - most importantly - ensuring I had a self-protection strategy firmly in place.
    The internal grievance procedure ought to work - but as others have pointed out, it has a real chance of back-firing. Although it may not feel like it, to make the first complaint up the hierarchy of responsibility is to 'whistle-blow'. Providing your complaint meets the criteria to be both a 'qualifying' and 'protected' disclosure, you are protected from victimisation by the 1998 Public Interest Disclosure Act. To be 'qualifying', a disclosure has to involve, in general terms, some kind of law-breaking - which bullying is. Not only may it breach harassment law, it also demonstrates negligence in an employer's duty of care towards you. To be covered by the Act, you do not have to prove the complaint - just have 'reasonable grounds' to believe it is true.
    So how do you protect youself? Make contact with a fabulous organisation called Public Concern at Work. www.pcaw.org.uk As a professional organisation, they helped to draft the PID Act and provide expert legal advice and support for prospective whistle-blowers. I have used them myself for advice and they are first-rate.
    PCAW has a helpline number on its website that you can ring for FREE advice. You can talk through them them implications of your complaint and help you to decide whether to go ahead and complain or not. They will talk you through how to approach each stage of the complaint. Most importantly. if you should find yourself a victim because of it, they will provide you with expert legal support to fight it. The organisation will also work alongside your teaching union to provide expert advice and support for them, if they wish it.
    Good luck. Let us know what you decide and how you get on.
     

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