1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Greivance procedure advice

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by ninasimone, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. ...listen to your union rep and if possible via their advice "nuke" the HT as to be honest many of them seem to get away with murder. If you feel (like I did when I left my post recently) low, depressed, a failure, undervalued, ignored and generally unwanted due to the actions or inactions of the HT then my advice is stand your ground and fight. It also depends what you want to do in the short to medium term as well. That is, do you want to remain in teaching as if you do, then references and such like will be needed from your school. It seems long after one leaves a school the repercussions can be far reaching.
    Far too many HTs seem to think teaching staff are like robots seemingly unbreakable and a lot of them do not have the skills to manage people in an effective manner.
    Good luck in whatever you do
     
  2. Pursuing the grievance might serve to mark this beggars card, and while that is little compared with the stress he's handed out, bullies hate it happenng to them. It might also put out a rumour in LA circles that stays with him for some time.
    However he will never forgive you. He will go to ground for a while then start all over again. This is what bullies do. So you need to consider what next for yourself. If you choose to stay at the school, you will need to watch your every step and keep close to union / legal help. I am pleasantly surpised that your union want to pursue a grievance for bullying as most will not, on the grounds that getting supporting statements from colleagues is usually impossible.
    If you decide now that you have no future at this school, start discussing this with your union and get precise information from them on a compromise agreement, which gives you a sum of money and a guaranteed reference from which your head may not deviate in writing or verbally.
    One last point to consider is the nice habit LA's and other organisations have of getting annoyed with the victims of bullying, who they might support once (perhaps) but then regard as nuisances if the bullying starts again.
    It is not fair, but that is how it is. LAs are happy to squander millions in terms of people's skills and talent because they don't want to address workplace bullying.
     
  3. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    I think you are spot-on, OGW. I don't understand the reluctance of unions, in general, to pro-actively counter incidences of workplace bullying. It has created a vicious circle: no-one takes action because they believe it is not possible to do so. Consequently, there is little precedent, which makes it difficult for anyone to take action...and so it continues.
    The law can and does protect teachers who have been bullied. I would like to see unions do far more to protect their members.
    One last point: if the OP (or anyone else) is victimised because they have raised a grievance, they are protected and entitled to redress under the Public Interest Disclosure Act. It doesn't matter whether their grievance is upheld, as long as their complaint is 'reasonable'. It protects complaining to a line manager, not just high profile disclosures to e.g. regulators or media. Coincidentally, this seems to be a theme running through a number of current threads. I have written more about this in this thread https://community.tes.co.uk/forums/t/460325.aspx
     
  4. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    One must take into account the difference between what the law protects and the reality of the situtation...
     
  5. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    The'reality' is that, on a day to day basis, life can become extremely difficult, if not intolerable. However, IMHO that does not detract from my original point: the law is very clear that it does protect those victimised for 'whistle-blowing'. If unions were pro-active in pursuing claims against schools/LAs that try it on, the latter would be less likely to attempt it. All the time they don't, bullies get away with it and the majority feel that there is no point complaining because life will become too difficult.
     
  6. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    Sorry, I wasn't trying to detract from your point. I was just noting that what the letter of the law protects may not be very helpful in the context of a bullying Head.
     
  7. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    Sorry - I must be being a bit dense here! Why do you think the law 'may not be very helpful' for victims to effectively challenge a bullying Head? Various laws can and do exist that would be effective in stopping these wretched individuals (and the LAs willing to cover for them, for an easy life) in their tracks. I read on here again and again stories from posters whose lives have been made intolerable by bullying Heads.
    I honestly believe that the only reason people believe they are impotent in the face of bullying Heads is because unions are too slow to bring action on their behalf. It needs a momentum to be built. If Heads and LAs were not permitted to get away with it, they would think twice before doing it. The more successful cases that are brought, the easier it becomes for those who come afterwards.
     
  8. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    No, I am just not expressing myself very well today. I think we are (mainly) in agreement.
    The law would be adequate if it were effective in such employment cases. It tends not to be. The fact that you yourself note that you see so many cases is evidence of this. It is all very well there being laws, but if they are ineffective then they are useless. There is little point in having a law protecting whistleblowers if more subtle pressures are placed on the whistleblower to leave.
    I am not sure that this is true. I have seen very many people stand up to bullying bosses (not just in teaching but in other areas). I have seen very few people come out the other side without massive battle scars. In my experience, the outcome is nearly always that the person raising the grievance leaves and the bully is left in place. It is cold comfort to those people that the law was on their side.
    I replied originally to your post because I felt it was giving a slightly skewed view to a slightly naive OP. The OP originally foresaw the outcome of a grievance as being either an apology or a dethroning. It would likely be neither but rather a whole heap of trouble landing on their doorstep. I didn't want them to become over-encouraged by the talk of legislation designed to protect them without making the broader point that the letter of the law may not be that helpful if the bully is conniving and manipulative.
     
  9. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    That's a fair point. However, I could see that there were plenty of posters urging caution and predicting a negative outcome. Those comments notwithstanding, it offers a balanced perspective to be able to point out that there is actually legislation in place to protect those victimised by raising a grievance or whistle-blowing in other ways.
     
  10. In my case it's the Deputy who is the bully and the Head who mismanages his stressed and over worked staff ... he should have seen my breakdown coming as I asked for help a number of times and was found in tears more than once.
    In my case I have received good advice on this forum. I'm going to try for a fairer CA which reflects my total breakdown and need to be secure whilst recovering. And I'm sending a letter of grievance to the Governors because at the moment only my Union, HR and the Head know any details, everyone else is just guessing why I'm not at school!
    I'm concerned tho, if there's an investigation what about the effect that a grievance has on the nicer staff
    who haven't done anything wrong - surely they get effected
    by the backlash and gossip etc. Has anyone been in that situation? I've got friends there who are often upset because of things that go on. I wouldn't want to make their situation worse or make them ill like me....

     

  11. <font face="Calibri">However I do feel I may be different-I did have a breakdown and was signed off by my doctor with depression and had thought of harming myself as I thought that may be the only way the HT would recognise my situation. Consequently my doctor wrote to him saying the depression was triggered by a work related issue that I had attempted to resolve and he was afraid for my mental health if things were not rectified. (I had resigned without a job to go to as I was in such a mess, I withdrew my resignation after I was told unofficially that leaving at Xmas was bad for my GCSE group and would effect the school results and I would get a poor reference-if I waited until Easter it would be a better reference).The HT replied to the doctor with the following statements "Turned to her doctor to avoid meeting resonable expectations/Your professional support in discouraging this kind of questionable conduct would be most welcome". Surely this is unacceptable-he does not recognise I was ill and asked the doctor to stop treating me? I cant prove the reference bit-but I have copies of the letters. He is such an unpleasant person-we have lost many good staff due to him. He has not acknowledged me in the 5 weeks I have been back-on 3 occassions turned his back on me and whistled to the ceiling as I walked past. I have been refused CPD-a half day course due to the amount of time I had off (4 weeks) even though it was on an area I highlighted on my PMR targets. What do HTs have to do to be recognised as not suitable to manage- it seems they can do what they like as long as the school gets good results?</font>
     
  12. Following on Fifi's point, everyone in an organisation is affected if bullying goes unchallenged, and the process of challenging bullying, or pursuing a grievance, will affect other people. This is chiefly because they may be asked to be interviewed, and even give evidence to a meeting. This puts enormous pressure on people who are caught on the horns of a dilemma, to support a colleague and to risk alienation or stay shtum and remain safe.
    In a culture where bullying is tolerated / the norm, people are drawn in to concurring with and even joining in with this culture. So victims of bullying become villified and the 'mob' feels justified that 'they are not one of the group', or 'not a team player', or 'not good at communicating', and therefore drew the punishment on themselves. In such situations people who are normally nice, reasonable adults get drawn into an easier route of being part of a toxic work culture, for their own survival.
    This is wrong, but it is the way things are, and so we get to the core of the circular argument: unions normally suggest a grievance against a line manage for failing in their duty of care towards the target of bullying, provided that the taget has correctly informed line manager about the problem and given them th chance to start resolving it. The unions do this because there is more chance of success and a reduced need to rely on colleagues standing up to be counted.
    If the unions would attack this head on it would start to address the issue, but until they do I'd always suggest that when caught in this type of situation, consider solely what is good for you as an individual. You simply cannot afford to worry about how it affects others.
    At the end of it all, if people (including unions) were supported by society to behave ethically and professionally without fear or favour we would not have a workplace bullying problem.
     
  13. WB, I hope your GP blew the ******* out of the water for presuming to advise on a medical matter. If you have a copy of this I'd have thught that alone was a suitable matter for a grievance.
    'Sending to Coventry' and refusing to acknowledge polite greetings are also matters that can be used as the basis for a grievance.
    It'll get Oldgit jumping about (again) but from your tone and your situation I'd suggest you need to see your GP again. If your HT has made you ill by his actions, you are not duty bound to hang around while he maks yu feel yet worse.
    Anything you want to add to that, Oldgit?
     
  14. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    What do you actually want from the grievance? He isn't going to leave and they may offer mediation at the most. My head was as pathetic as yours and the grievance escalated his behaviour to unbelievable vindictiveness. People I socialised with out side of school were too scared to sit next to me in the staff room. I went all the way to a tribunal. I was lucky to be employed again, and he even tried to destroy that. Can you take that risk? As soon as you file the grievance I can bet you will be on capability within a month.
    Yes laws are supposed to be there to protect us. The reality is that unless you can prove legally in a tribunal what has happened on your own (as you are unlikely to be supported) and you can pay the mortgage if it all goes wrong, then I really would not recommend taking that route.
    If you really want to go down the grievance route then take your evidence to an employment solicitor. You may have grounds under the DDA, which offers more protection. The Human Rights and Equality Commission can offer free advice on this.
     
  16. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    Torey, your experience was an horrific nightmare. However, not all unions abandon their members as yours did. Mine is tremendously supportive. WB's union should be supportin her all the way with this. She should not need to consult an employment lawyer. If she chooses to submit a grievance and if she subsequently suffers because of it, her union should support her in bringing a claim under the PID Act. Teaching unions can do it and do do it. We need to insist that it is done more often and more consistently.
     
  17. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    Hi-My union did support me, but the solictor/barrister I got were specialists and rated a lot higher than what even the LEA could provide. It didn't cost me anything and they were brilliant. My union provided me with the second in charge for grievance meetings and my solicitor did all the paperwork for the meetings and managed the legal side.
    I do agree that it is important to do something about it. But, I think both of us know that it comes at a personal cost and it is important that people know as much as possible before they make the decision. It could end their career.
     
  18. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    I agree with you completely. It is a huge thing to take on and it does come with considerable risk to health and future prospects, even if it shouldn't.
    My objective in posting what I do is just to offer another perspective. It is clear to me that many - perhaps I could say 'most' - are completely unaware that it is possible to take on bullies and win and that they may have options in law. That's not to say it is the right decision for everyone and, indeed, I discourage people from doing so. However, when I embarked on my action, I wish I had had access to the knowledge I now possess. I have had to find it out piecemeal, fortunately with the help and support of good organisations and individuals, in addition to my union. I am happy to share that information and I take pains to ensure that what I post is accurate. Whether individuals choose to use it is entirely up to them.
     
  19. Now I am really confused!!!!
    I appreciate a greivance procedure will upset the HT and its scarey hearing about the consequences thst some people have suffered. I am assuming I have burnt all my bridges, it is obvious I am not happy with certain situations because I have asked for help with them, it is also obvious he has no respect for me by blanking me and refusing CPD oppertunities etc. So surely an official procedure can not make things worse-just highlight it to the Governors and maybe make him think about his actions. How can I be put on competancy when I am such a good teacher. I have the choice of leaving if I wish-I dont expect a good reference, however if and when I apply for jobs I will ask for them to be taken up after an offer so that I can explain in an interview why it may not be good and suggest they ask for a refernce from a member of the MLT that I know will be more accurate. I can cope with the ignorance of the man and since my return I just do my job in much less hours than I used to work and already have a better work life balance as I am no longer prepared to give it my all as before. Their loss and my gain. Or am I being very very naive?
     
  20. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    I was an 'outstanding' teacher and he still tried it. It actually worked in my favour as victimisation was then added to my complaint and his letter was further evidence against him.
    You have to use him as a reference, but can provide additional ones.
    It really depends on your head. If he is pathetic enough to ignore you at the moment I would guess that he has serious problems and things will escalate. Don't assume that he will respond in a reasonable manner.
    If you want to highlight his behaviour to the governors, get another job and write them a letter and copy it to the LEA.

     

Share This Page