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Resign or wait forever for Compromise Agreement?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by izzywhizzal, Nov 16, 2015.

  1. izzywhizzal

    izzywhizzal Occasional commenter

    I have been told by GP and union to stay off sick rather than return to the lion's den. Union say I'm definitely being set up to fail. It's driving me insane. Like a fish out of water and sadly teaching is like my drug...I thrive on it. I can't imagine going off sick is good for my record and I just want to get on with my life and find a school where I can rebuild my confidence. Is any monetary pay out likely to be worth waiting for? If I resigned with effect from 31st Dec, I would stay off anyway until then, so would get sick pay and could legitimately apply for other positions, which I obviously can't at the moment. Regardng the supposed agreed reference, I don't get it, because surely the HT could just pick up the phone and 'downgrade' any agreed reference verbally? Of course, I'm hoping the resignation would be accepted even though it's now past 31st Oct.
    Is it worth waiting for the union to take action? Do I really have much to gain from it? How long is this likely to go on for? And can the HT get me via Occupational Health? I hate not being able to control or solve the situation I am in...impatient to move on. I suppose a compromise agreement will clear my name of the ridiculous accusations and a resignation will look like I'm guilty when I definitely am not. So fed up...please help!
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Sorry to hear this. It's difficult to give much advice without detail that might identify you.
    You seem to have established that you want to move on. I would suggest caution and reflection. See if you can talk to someone in the union on the phone to establish a way forwards.
    If you are likely to be on indefinite sick leave, the school will probably accept your resignation. I would have thought that they would want to clear things up one way or another. Focus on clearing your mind, maybe look outside the mainstream.
    Best wishes
  3. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Oh heck, you sound like me six months ago...same worries, same thoughts about what to do, references. Did you know that the reference is likely to be a crappy little box with bits your HT ticks? I kid you not. Don't worry too much. Thing is, you deserve that cash. If we as teachers cannot take united action against these bullies, we can at least make them fork out a bit..,they save thousands in employer pension contributions by kicking us out, I do assure you! Be nice to your rep. They take time because they are worked ragged doing this negotiating all over their section of the U.K...mine had five cases on that week alone! But they will come back, if they don't, email, email, phone...arrange a mutually convenient time early am. Get talking. As regards sick notes...I was made very very ill by my employer, basically my health collapsed suddenly due to exactly the same stress you're under now...unknown and undiagnosed conditions kicked off, spiralling out of control...I needed to be signed off a lot, always got the forms back to BullyHeadHQ, saw occupational health...and I'm now back working in a far better school. The settlement gives you the funds to go part time for a well earned break, to reboot, to reevaluate. I certainly am now...do I even want to stay in teaching? The old school wasn't allowed, by law, to comment on my health, it's confidential....BUT...I think you have to declare any major pre existing health conditions on the new school application and acceptance forms. Luckily, if you get things sorted, stress can fade fast and doesn't leave a mark, so no need to declare. I thought I could carry on...big mistake...that way you do start to get very ill, suddenly, and do risk your chances of being de employed elsewhere. Yes the HTf the school you're leaving could drop you in it on the phone...that's why, if you HAVE an SA, and he is caught out, you have legal redress, especially if you were made unwell. Disability discrimination has a time stamp on it, and is harder to prove...see gardening leaves ghost's excellent posts on this. But personal injury claims, normally waived during an SA, could, in theory, be reopened if you can prove that the HT hasn't honoured the agreed reference or just agreed to be supportive...which may be better than the rather obvious looking agreed reference. So it's in both your interest to sign an SA, I think any teacher who is in this mess needs a union rep and to exit with an SA in place. Occupational health is a tricky one...they have a duty of care to do one..but they'll often not do another one when the employee gets really ill, preferring to slap them onto formal, which can cause reactive stress and yet more sick leave. So the teacher never has a chance to prove themselves, as they do t want you to. I'd look for part time jobs now, be nice to them, tell them that you want the best for the kids etc etc but that you could stay till they get a replacement for you...that you cannot afford to leave without some sort of payment...if you can broker an SA which doesn't prohibit you returning to work within three months, you could then apply for jobs. A lot of them do prohibit this, as the idea is they have driven you down so much, you're unable to work. And you have been on leave, and may be weaker and more unwell than you realise...I certainly was. They could offer you one amount, then you could renegotiate a lower amount of you manage to get another part time job before it is signed...by that point they will want to see it through and may well have hired someone! Phased return is ok. Doubtless they will try to ensure that, coupled with extra 'compassionate' leave, you never set foot in the school again, but you'll be out of it.ive posted on this elsewhere so do read, and good luck.
  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Has the school indicated that they will consider a Settlement Agreement? They don't have to. Wouldn't a Settlement Agreement still involve you resigning?

    I don't think that's correct Mrsm. @GLsghost can advise better than me but AFAIK you cannot be asked to declare your health record on job applications or at interview, but you can be asked about it if you are the successful candidate, after being offered the job, and the job offer made conditional on health information. On the other hand your previous school may not be allowed to comment on your health but can state to a new employer what your sickness absence record has been.
  5. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    I think you should listen to your Union - make sure you speak to those at a fairly high level who have experience of similar cases. If you resign too soon you may well find your HT says what he/she likes about you in any reference - you need some protection.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  6. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Glad you brought this one up...no the school couldn't go into detail...thankfully! So I got the job. My irony was that I was healed up and recovering from all the health horrors at point of interview. It was a gamble, that interview, but I got the offer the next day and I really did start to suddenly feel so much better, so suddenly. Stress is the biggest and sneakiest risk to health. Just getting that offer did so much for my health, mental and physical! Then, as you say, after the offer, I did have to fill in that questionnaire. By this point it was July.would they really have withheld the place? If you can show that you've had the op, healed, or recovered, a good employer is normally ok, particularly if it's a part time temporary contract. I was honest..you have to be...and out down the big emergency surgery details. Then that was it. So far, so good. It is possible to move on, that's why I get a bit evangelical about encouraging unhappy posters to get themselves out of a situation they may not fully realise is I resolvable and very toxic. Stress kills.
  7. izzywhizzal

    izzywhizzal Occasional commenter

    So a month on and no change. Does my employer HAVE to engage with my union? This situation is toxic and being off sick is going to destroy my career. I cannot bear sitting at home!! When I see Occ Health, would it be silly to suggest a transfer to another school? I'd be so happy if they could arrange that! I would be absolutely fine in another setting.
    Does a settlement agreement involve raising a grievance against the HT? What is the process? Fed up of the silence from union!
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    You can't transfer teachers between schools, unless possibly you are in an academy MAT or Federation which employs you to work at any MAT or Federation school.

    Your Union really should be telling you what's going on. They are negotiating with the school on your behalf, aren't they? You ask "Does my employer HAVE to engage with my union?". For practical purposes yes - have you been told by the Union that the school is refusing to engage with them? But if the Union wants to negotiate a Settlement Agreement but school isn't willing to offer one they aren't obliged to 'engage' with the union any further on the SA issue.

    You can't bring a grievance against the head for not offering you a Settlement Agreement. Schools are under no obligation to offer anyone a Settlement Agreement. You might be able to bring a grievance regarding other matters, but your Union needs to advise you if that's possible and/or whether there'd be any point.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
  9. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    The SA (and yes, it's Compromise Agreement in other sectors) tends to be forthcoming when the employer knows you have grounds to kick up a bit of a stink. Maybe not to win at a tribunal but enough to make them look silly.

    One of my wife's staff just reached one because it was the easiest way to get rid of him (from the point of view of the employer) and there was some doubt as to whether HR had handled everything just-so. He was enough of a trouble-maker to get himself £10K. The company just calculated it was easier to do that than maybe have him take it further.

    So you need to be able to make life difficult for them. Could you? Do you know things? Do you have some kind of an edge? Leverage?

    The SA enables both sides to emerge with dignity. You get a good reference and they get off the hook without a lot of fuss. I'd go for it but you need some canny union help or be prepared to be pretty obstinate yourself. You would have to dig your heels in and see it through. It should work in your favour if you can stomach the 'fight'.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  10. izzywhizzal

    izzywhizzal Occasional commenter

    I haven't been told anything by the union about whether school is engaging with them or not. I am also thinking that my HT will not offer a settlement agreement. HT will expect me to return and then will continue with plan to put me through capability, setting me up. This process had started and I saw it coming, so contacted union who advised me to stay off. The letter written to me was also indicative of that. The grievance bit is around the gross exaggerations made about an error I made and HT lies about my response to that error. It is not to do with any Settlement. I just don't see that I have much to win from this except a small payout perhaps. This is a HT who had only know me for a few weeks. The reference of my previous HT would carry much more weight than current HT, as she knew me for years, but of course that reference will carry less importance the longer this goes on. At the moment, I could resign and apply for another job using that as strongest reference. I have been contacted about a forthcoming Headship but paralysed by this hanging over my head! Does that make sense?
  11. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Makes perfect sense.

    If you resign without a post lined up though you'll invite some speculation as to why you would have done such a thing. But you can think up something plausible.

    But I'd see that as least-worst option. Writing's on the wall. I'd say: jump. Don't wait to be pushed. You seem pretty sure your number is up.

    As to the lies? You have to refute those. Union could advise HT to ensure no mention is made formally or informally of that alleged reaction of yours as it could result in legal steps being taken.

    Damage limitation, I'm afraid. My condolences. You are one of the many and it's scandalous.
    Ozchic and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  12. izzywhizzal

    izzywhizzal Occasional commenter

    Thank you for helping. This is so isolating and I am working hard to maintain mental health. My cards were marked right from the day she started. I have heard nothing from regional officer so will phone Union head office to see what, if anything is going on.
    I am expensive....and experienced! I have been at the school too long and was looking to move on anyway, but didn't move fast enough and did not expect to be put in this position because I really have "held this school together" as much as a DH can. Worked my socks off for a slap in the face. This has changed me and makes me sceptical of headship as this abhorrent culture is not something I am prepared to be part of. Thanks once again x
  13. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I think you've made your decision so full speed ahead and make sure you construct a knock-out CV and check out any prospective schools VERY carefully so you don't do frying-pan to fire.

    Good luck! You'll be fine!
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  14. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I think that you should be on the phone to the Union several times a day, to be honest.

    You pays yer dues and they doos nowt.

    Do not take no for an answer from the union.

    Best wishes

    BlueCarrot likes this.
  15. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Yes, just to qualify what I meant...the former employer, when asked by the school I had applied for, said it reserved the right to not disclose my health information, which was good for me. The bulk of their so called reference for me was just a series of ticked boxes. But after I was offered the job, the HR dept at the new school did indeed ask me to do a health questionnaire, where I was honest about the biggest and most serious health problem I had had, which has since entirely cleared up. They never said anything to me, and I started the job fine. Oh and my health has never been better. I think if anyone is in this situation, their best bet is to jump ship with settlement cash and an agreement from the HT to be positive in references. It is a gamble, but I think it's better to try to get a late summer job and then, hopefully, the new employer will bear your health declaration in mind but, as long as you can reassure them, they will give you that chance to start over. For me, getting back into teaching and being appreciated for it has been far better than taking a bigger cash settlement and not being allowed to work for three minutes the, plus being beholden to a very twisted and vindictive SLT for a good reference. This way, I got to control my life, and all the negative routines and people that increased my daily stress and contributed hugely to my illness....they've gone!
  16. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Agreed. You ARE up for the fight...it's the best tonic for dealing with such idiots. Read the info on your union website. I was pretty sure that a settlement can be reached, even if the payout is small. You must talk to your union...go to regional rep level.
  17. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    Given a choice stay until you get the agreement.
    It will give you some protection against the **************
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  18. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Oh dear it does sound complicated. Your HT would be mad to force you through capability if you have made up your mind to go...and, out of courtesy, told them. I lost a lot of settlement by telling my SLT that I was applying for and had got a job. They did a fair reference which helped secure the job...the r deuces the layout as they argued I'd be out of work for less time. Mean, but fair I suppose! But it got me out and ensured I stayed in teaching. I think you are right to worry about your current rubbish HT. I've been in the same mess...lovely former HT, new one is awful...but as time passes, I will need her reference and if the old one is no longer in post, I'd say it's best to humour your current HT. I think you need to approach the HT with the rep and broker an exit route. If they refuse to engage, then capability will start, which is really, really unpleasant...so just get signed off by your GP for a week. The preemptive strike should shock your incompetent HT and joke of an HR fool into doing their jobs properly. Once out, then apply for whoever you want.
  19. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Adding to this great advice: these awful SLT bullies do tend to stick together and share bitchy gossip. Consider your next job applications to be schools which are further afield, so a longer commute but a much fresher start for you.
  20. izzywhizzal

    izzywhizzal Occasional commenter

    I am going to be really persistent in trying to get hold of the union regional rep overseeing my case over the next two days. I think there is a refusal by HT to engage. I will continue to stay off sick and so it will go on? Eventually I will have to give in because I will need to earn money at some point. But I need to get hold of the rep and see if there are any clues to her game. In the meantime, I am prepared to invest personally in some CPD to fill some professional gaps and enhance my CV. It will keep my brain busy too! There is an education leadership and management postgrad degree that I could start in Feb but need to be sure it's worth the investment. Might be forever damaged, twisted and embittered by this experience! Will post again if I can get communication from regional rep. Thx all...
    sue1963 likes this.

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