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Threatened with dismissal due to a bereavement

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by ClackR, Dec 2, 2015.

  1. ClackR

    ClackR New commenter

    The most unpleasant thing has just happened today.

    I have just been off work due to a bereavement of a close family member and I was called into meet with the head and deputy head this morning.

    Too my horror they both stated that taking time off was unacceptable and have given me two options. Either:
    1. I leave
    2. If I stay, they are going to immediately undertake disciplinary procedures due to poor attendance and because being upset over the death is bad for the school. Of course, I have been sad as is expected, but O have not been breaking down ***** nilly. I cannot understand this.

    However I have never taken any time off before, and am experienced teacher with good results. Also, they stated that the stress the bereavement was causing me was not good for the school or the learning of the students and to keep my sorrow to myself.

    I have contacted my Union who will do what they can, but it seems little can be done and if they want rid of me they will get rid of me.
    Has anyone ever witnessed anything like this happening before?
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Sorry to hear about this. Can you clarify please, did you apply for leave of absence before taking the time off? With what result? How many days have you been off?
  3. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    I'm appalled at how they are treating you. I suggest you get signed off by your GP for the understandable grief, along with work related stress. Document everything with email copies to a private email. Best wishes.
  4. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    I would contact your regional union office asap…. On the face of it this is appalling. I am assuming here that you rang in conveying your need to be absent through the usual means and have taken a 'reasonable' but not excessive number of days off… if the latter, there is still no issue as bereavement stress can be certified by a doctor as a reason to be absent from work.
  5. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Have your union intimated there is little to be done? If so.... get onto them. They are your union and you have paid subs and they are there to act for you!
    Either you were granted time off by the school, paid or unpaid but authorised, or a medical professional signed you off as unfit to work. or you self certified for 5 days? I would ask did you exhibit grief in front of any pupils/students which might give them a standpoint to argue it was excessive? If not then you are just working for complete Aholes who do not deserve to have you work for them.
    Fight them, do what is best for you. Stick to the school if all else about it suits you, make a decision about whether you wish to stay there and if not ...job hunt, giving them as little clue as possible as to your intentions.

    I took next to no time off when my mother died but it was my choice. I have known of people bullied on having time off because of the death of a baby but also of someone who was allowed 2 weeks off because of their grief over the loss of their pet. The world of teaching seems to have gone mad
  6. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    I always prefer to give posters the benefit of the doubt but unfortunately your post appearers to me to be similar to that of another new contributor with an equally 'unusual' dilemma.

    I apologise if this is not the case (but there are some unpleasant people who like to capitalise on others' problems)

    There is a great deal more support I and more expert posters can give but first you need to answer Rottweiler's queries (post 2)

    and read the school's disciplinary procedure, attendance policy, absence policy.

    Check that:
    that they have followed their own procedure 'to the letter'
    whether you have complied with policy requirements
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
    snowyhead likes this.
  7. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

  8. ClackR

    ClackR New commenter

    I thoroughly resent your post, and find it very upsetting.
    Instead of arrogantly asserting the worst, why not try to assume some empathy.
    Disgraceful behaviour.
  9. opalfeet

    opalfeet Occasional commenter

  10. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter

    Never! Which is why I am certain that it's all a fairy story.
    snowyhead likes this.
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Any absence from school must be:
    1. Self -certified for an illness which makes it impossible for you to come to work and carry out your duties for up to 5 working days
    2. Certified by a medical practitioner for the same reason over 5 days
    3. Authorised by the Head in accordance with official policies as set out in the Staff Handbook
    4. Authorised by the Head in exceptional situations which are not covered by the official policies

    You should most certainly be contacting your regional branch of the union of your absence falls into one of the above categories.

    I understand that it is possible for Website Managers to investigate the computer IP address of posters on any site.

    Unless steps have been taken to hide the IP with, for example, a VPN. Which could be considered curious . . .

    Best wishes
  12. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I know someone who was hassled by the head about having too much time off - they weren't threatened with dismissal/capability, but this was back in the days when those things were a rarity.

    Unfortunately, what is reasonable does vary from person to person, and some heads are unwilling to recognise this.
  13. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter

    You won't convince me, frustum. The OP is a wind up sure as eggs are eggs.
  14. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    I'm not convinced that the OP is a wind up… I would hope someone would find other amusement beyond consuming the time and care of others for a 'wind up'.

    I have experienced staff who are, believe it or not and dare I say it, daft/blidned by grief/ traumatised/unwell enough to think it is 'ok' to casually not get leave granted or assume a school will be outlandishly compassionate. Certainly everyone is different in how they deal with personal crisis moments, but so to are schools, some better at doing so with decorum than others.
  15. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Sock or no, many people read these forums who do not post and the information may well be of use to some.
    monicabilongame and RedQuilt like this.
  16. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter

    I think we all would!
  17. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    Maybe curious for many - but there are plenty of places in the world where there is no choice but to use a VPN if anyone were to trace my IP address they would find some pretty odd stuff going on as I appear to bounce around the globe with the speed of superman!
  18. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

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