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Interview;head -teacher opened confidential documents and photocopied them

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by molly4mum, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. I was being interviewed for a job today when the head produced a photocopied letter sent to meby another professional.This letter had been removed and photocopied by his PA ;the lettter was in a folder in which the key documents were placed at the front(i.e. passport.Degree and teaching certificates,QTS and GTC membership,.The PA must have gone through all the other documents and taken them from their envelopes.I think this is illegal and quite immoral.I plan to take legal action against the school over this intrusive behaviour.What do nyou suggest?
     
  2. I was being interviewed for a job today when the head produced a photocopied letter sent to meby another professional.This letter had been removed and photocopied by his PA ;the lettter was in a folder in which the key documents were placed at the front(i.e. passport.Degree and teaching certificates,QTS and GTC membership,.The PA must have gone through all the other documents and taken them from their envelopes.I think this is illegal and quite immoral.I plan to take legal action against the school over this intrusive behaviour.What do nyou suggest?
     
  3. I don't wish to sound rude.. but are you serious?



    I assume that the letter was included in your application? Do you really expect that the Headteacher goes through every piece of paper with each application on his/her own in a locked room...?


    A PA position comes with professionalism...which will include the processing of confidential material. What do you think is illegal about this situation? That s/he may well have read the letter? If it was that sensitive then I would respectfully suggest that you think about taking a copy with you to hand to the Head at future interviews...insisting of course that you get it back.


    I am not sure what you would like to achieve by taking legal action. I am also, as an ex-lawyer, not precisely sure on what grounds you would base your case...


    I am sorry you're upset.
     
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Yes, it sounds as though this upset you quite a lot. Oh dear - job seeking is hard enough without the upset.
    However . . . I'm going to be a bit blunt here.
    So you actually handed the letter to the school yourself? You gave them a folder with a number of documents in it? Presumably in response to q request for I.D. and certificates, proof of qualifications?
    If you actually handed over the letter to them, I don't see how you can complain if they opened it.
    Why would this be either illegal or immoral? They said "Have you got your certificates?" You replied "Yes, here you are" and handed over a folder. Yiu gave it to them, they went through it, on the understanding that you were giving them all the certificates that they needed for processing their application. Lots of people include envelopes with testimonials in such collections of professional documents, of course the secretary opened everything that you gave her.
    She asked for your documents, you gave them to her, she opened them. What's the issue?
    I suggest that you sit down, cool down, and think this through before doing anything.
    Then go and check your bank statement to see if you have a couple of thousand to spare before contacting a lawyer who may well charge £200 per hour.
    Come on!
    You've been a bit daft, leaving something private in the folder of documents that you gave to the school. You could kick yourself for doing it. But the school is not to blame here, you are the one who made the mistake, and you need to face up to that. I cannot see what you could possibly gain from taking legal action against the school, you haven't got a leg to stand on.
    And you have a lot to lose in the stress and aggro and expense of trying to fight a lost cause.
    Sorry to tell you what you didn't want to hear. You are upset, and I can understand that. But really, deep down, I guess that you are upset with yourself.
    Best wishes
     
  5. I am being serious.The letter was brought to the interview in a folder containing all my key documents.I was asked to bring three key documents-these were placed at the front of nthe folder and pointed out to the PA.I expect the head to delegate photocopying to a PA but to ask the PA to photocopyonly the three items in question(anything else was a waste of time).The PA exceeded their role and as an ex-lawyer I thought you would agree this is intrusive.Can you suggest why the head mentioned the letter during the interview;I understand that any questions asked should be directed at all candidates to ensure fair play.
     
  6. The key point is that the letter was addressed to myself, was sealed and was not one of the three documents requested.It appeared to be the only document that was photocopied other than the three items specified.I presume you think it is acceptable to rifle through a set of documents-irts tantamount to finding a diary and opening the first page to identify the owner and then reading on to satisfy some curiousityI certainly do not plan to hire a lawyer at £200 per hour but will pursue some form of action.

    Thanks for your reply.I must say I regret the misplaced trust I invested in the school-Ishallnot repeat the mistake.I dont mind fighting lost causes as I place principle before pragmaticism-I prefer Arthur Scargill to Nick Clegg and his acolytes.
     
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    If that were so, you needn't have an interview panel - just sit the candidates down to fill in a questionnaire!
    Certainly lead questions will generally be the same, but follow-up questions will be different, of course.
    For example, there might be a follow-up question on someone's answer to a first question, or on something on their application form, or about something said in a reference, or about a portfolio or any other document given to the school.
    Which would include that letter that you gave them.
    This is not what you want to hear from me, I know. But I really think that you are not looking at this logically, probably because you are upset. Any error was made by you, not the school. Even if the document was in a sealed envelope, the fact that it was in the folder that you gave them suggested to them that you wanted them to have it.
    Why have personal documents in a folder that you take to an interview? Why keep them in the folder when you give it to the school?
    Unless you specifically said to them: please do not touch the other documents which are private, I really do not see how you can complain that they looked at a document that you handed to them.
    Sorry!
    _________________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    The TES Careers Advice service runs seminars, one-to-one career advice, one-to-one interview coaching and an application review service
    I shall be contributing to the Seminars on Saturday 8th January. TheoGriff Job Seminar Look forward to seeing you!
     
  8. I have had 18 months of training on Information Sharing and Data Protection. I'm not qualified in any way, but this would be my understanding of it all...
    If the envelope was addressed to you, ie had your name on it, and you gave it to the PA then it's quite likely that s/he will have opened it thinking you had labelled it as yours. I think this is quite a reasonable mistake.
    Once the PA had realised that this information was 'private' and not to be given as part of the necessary documents, s/he should have returned the documents back to you. It could be said that by reading the information s/he could have been reading information that was irrelevant to them and that in itself would be against what they had been asked to do (that is, copy the information and pass it on to the appt person).
    Therefore, once the information had been passed back to you, the head should make sure that the copy of the information was not kept and that it was returned to you as soon as the mistake had been realised. Unfortunately it is difficult to ignore information once you have read it, so if it had something in there which would effect your ability to do the job well, then they may have kept a copy to prove this in the future.

    I would have just sheepishly appologised for the mix up and continued the interview as normal - and if you didn't get the job then hey ho - move on!
    Good luck x


     
  9. veritytrue

    veritytrue New commenter

    I suspect the school has had a lucky escape.
     
  10. The internet has provided cover for cheap shots from some punters and other anonymous nonentiites-I would rather be jobless than spineless

    "The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter"

    P.Marlow "The Big Sleep"
     
  11. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Safer recruitment procedures mean that heads are now actively encouraged to ask questions which areveowcific to candidates circumstances. If you put the letter in there, I'm afraid you are at fault. If I received that in a folder I would presume the candidate intended me to look at it. You shouldve been more careful with your documents. If, of course, this isn't a wind up.
     

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