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Settlement agreement reference

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Sparky76, Jul 1, 2019.

  1. Sparky76

    Sparky76 New commenter

    Hi - I’m about to sign a settlement agreement (union involved etc). Some threads on here talk of a clause that their union has added to state any verbal reference or proforma should be no less favourable than the agreed reference.

    Does anyone have the exact wording?
  2. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    No, but surely the union who are helping you will have this?
  3. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    Going through this at the moment. My union asked me to write my own reference which they will present to the school.

    I haven't even seen my SA but my union have and I trust them explicitly.

    Leaving it all up to them as they are the experts and the stress for me would be too much at the moment.
  4. veneris

    veneris New commenter

    I would refuse to sign that as a Head as the agreed reference would be all I would provide - making that clear in the SA. I don’t give proforma or verbal references to anyone now due to Equality Act 2010. I use a standard format. Some LAs and academy trusts have that policy so don’t get worried if yours is one of them
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  5. Sparky76

    Sparky76 New commenter

    Union support is not great - they are merely acting as go-betweens.
    I’ve done my own research including reading threads on here and people have talked about having that clause included. I just want this to be water tight.
  6. NQT08

    NQT08 Occasional commenter

    Can you please explain how the equality acts affects the writing of proforma references?
    I've never heard that before and is interesting for my own circumstances.
  7. Sparky76

    Sparky76 New commenter

    A Head can write something that could be deemed to be discriminatory - references around absence records for example, when someone has a disability (as defined in the Equality Act), performance issues mentioned could also be as a result of a disability.
    For most non teaching posts, references are simply x worked as x between x and x and left by reason of x - very simple.
    This is because if employers provide a bad reference that they can’t substantiate, they could open themselves up to being sued.
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Mine said more or less what you have written here.
    Any verbal reference or proforma should be no less favourable than the reference agreed here in section XYZ12

    I also had a clause that said I could choose to tell a future headteacher if it was appropriate to do so.
    At the time I couldn't imagine for a moment I ever would, but it has proved to be helpful to do so.
    Sparky76 likes this.
  9. veneris

    veneris New commenter

    As Sparky76 said, some ask about absence and as we’re usually required to send references before interview, that information could be used to discriminate against people with disabilities, which can include mental ill health.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  10. Teacher_abc123

    Teacher_abc123 New commenter

    I’ve realised that I have got that clause protecting me from verbal references or proformas. It’s all signed now. Worried :(
  11. Teacher_abc123

    Teacher_abc123 New commenter

    I mean haven’t got *
  12. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Get it included! You haven't signed yet.
  13. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    As has been discussed before, asking about absence in a reference is illegal. However, there is nothing in the rules about asking other things in a pro-forma. The one to watch out for is "would you employ this person again?" Answering no would make it worse than the agreed reference, but yes would be an outright lie. Leaving it blank would probably be OK in law, but the new employer could read between the lines.
    veneris likes this.
  14. Teacher_abc123

    Teacher_abc123 New commenter

    Is there anything you can do about that clause once it’s all been signed? Going to have to contact union. I’m disappointed that union didn’t point this out to me.
  15. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Sorry @Teacher_abc123 I got you and the OP confused. You HAVE signed.

    Try not to worry. It's impossible to legislate against the odd 'phone call or word spoken out of turn. Unless your previous employer appears to have every intention of making life difficult for you then I really should put it out of your mind.

    Contact the union again. It's a fairly recent area of concern and doesn't arise very often as far as we know (but we probably wouldn't). It could be an oversight or they may have had a reason. Get back to them anyway and ASK. There would be no reason why an employer COULDN'T add something after the event. They probably WOULDN'T. But get back to the union whilst NOT getting into panic-mode. OK?
    Teacher_abc123 likes this.
  16. Teacher_abc123

    Teacher_abc123 New commenter

    Thanks so much :) You’re like the mother of the forum - I feel much better now :)
    I’ve emailed the union so hopefully I’ll get a quick response x
  17. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Ha ha! I'm really not @Teacher_abc123

    I just try to think positively. Other people know much more about legislation (see above). But there's more than one way to skin a cat and a lot can be achieved by unions if good relationships are cultivated. Which is true for all of us, of course!

    But thanks! I am OLDER than most. True. ;)
  18. Teacher_abc123

    Teacher_abc123 New commenter

    Hehe :) You have an air of wisdom!
    This was my union response: Without looking back at your agreement, any verbal or pro forma reference should be no less favourable than your agreed reference.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  19. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Brilliant! Aaaaaand..... breathe!
  20. veneris

    veneris New commenter

    Indeed, but you’d be amazed by how many times I get reference requests still asking for me to rate attendance on a scale. At least it amazes me!

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