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Unfair reference

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by JodiP, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    It might be helpful to the OP to know that, if the new school asked for information about health, they were breaking the law. Whether they can do anything about this I cannot say, but their union should be able to advise. I, for one, thought it necessary to correct any misleading statements on the topic, as I think the OP needs to know their rights.
  2. serenitypolly41

    serenitypolly41 Occasional commenter

    Ok I understand your trying to help the OP with their rights but dont you think that chance has now gone. What can the OP do about this now? They must be feeling very upset and disappointed.

    I dont not know a lot about things I admit but what I do know is that whilst your information may be based in truth we cant go back in time and change things.

    I felt a bit offended by your response back to me, so if ive got the wrong end of the stick please accept my apologies for any misunderstanding.

    I didnt think there was any law that prevented anyone from asking?
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Sabbatical? Stranded abroad due to volcanic eruptions? Suspended?
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    not related to a protected characteristic would be a better phrase.
    ilovesooty likes this.
  5. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    WRS, for example, is NOT covered by the EA 2010.

    Anxiety and depression are protected characteristics as long as the illness has or is likely to last more than 12months and has a significant detrimental effect on your life.

    It is important that if you have depression that your fit notes actually state depression and not stress.
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    "The reasons for absence are private. It is for the individual to discuss as far as I'm concerned."

    But the individual is unlikely to ever have the opportunity to discuss the reasons for the absence if the information is included in a reference obtained before selection for interview.

    Hence why I feel obtaining information prior to selection for interview on protected absences would be discriminatory.
  7. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    I agree that this thread may have gone off topic but I find it strange that given the way that references are obtained prior to selection for interview that no one has seemingly challenged the practice of obtaining health information.
  8. serenitypolly41

    serenitypolly41 Occasional commenter

    Not all references are obtained before interview though. They could be sought after the person has been offered a place but even then it can still go wrong because we live in an unfair and judgemental world.
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You are now assuming all prospective heads would discriminate against someone on health grounds, for which you have evidence at all.
  10. serenitypolly41

    serenitypolly41 Occasional commenter

    This is why I'm saying this thread has run its course. I see ait of opinions and theories floating on this thread but is any of it helping anyone now?
  11. peapicker

    peapicker Star commenter

    Sickness will be the most likely reason for absence - but it is not invariably so. There may be incidences of people having been absent with long-distance caring complications, for example, though if such absences relate to the care of a person with a disability, it could be argued to be discriminatory by association.

    It is only sickness and health questions that are prohibited by s60(1), not general questions relating to absence. However, the OP's post seems to suggest that the HT has volunteered information about absence that will lead the referor to draw inferences about the applicant's health, rightly or wrongly, which may be unfair. The Headteacher giving the reference is prohibited from disclosing health information by virtue of data protection legislation, without the subject's express permission. It is a moot point whether the HT's comment relating to long-term absence could be said to be in breach of legislation.
    Rott Weiler likes this.
  12. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Apart from volcanic eruption (exceptionally rare) neither of the other two should be recorded as absence.
    Sundaytrekker likes this.
  13. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I was bored and making things up...

    Sorry should be more serious. :oops:
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    It would be very strange for an offer to be revoked, do you mean an offer subject to references?
  15. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    Do you really think that given a selection of candidates with equal qualifications and experience that the one with the x months of absence last year is as likely as the others to be invited to interview?

    If you do then I think you are being a tad naive..
  16. serenitypolly41

    serenitypolly41 Occasional commenter

  17. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    A head chose to employ me after I had been off for 6 months and was taking my school to a tribunal. They did everything to support me and that included a hug when I was upset. There are some wonderful heads out there.
  18. serenitypolly41

    serenitypolly41 Occasional commenter

    All I know is that the world we live in can be very unfair and unjust. It very much depends on circumstances. If the circumstances are justifiable based on the context then yes. The context and situation is everything.

    I'd be wanting to know if there is any risk of a repeat and what caused the absence to occur. What can we then do to reduce any repetition?
  19. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    No, just experience tells me that all isn't lost just because someone has some time off. Similarly to @Torey I was off for three months in the summer term and secured a new post for the September. There were other, cheaper, candidates who possibly hadn't had all that absence, but I was still appointed.

    Not all heads will discriminate on absence. Many will be actively supportive.
    drek likes this.
  20. serenitypolly41

    serenitypolly41 Occasional commenter

    Tell me where these supportive people are please. I'm losing hope.
    ridleyrumpus likes this.
  21. delmamerchant

    delmamerchant Established commenter

    If you have worked at your place of employment for much longer that your sickness period, then it is unfair that your headteacher could not comment on your effectiveness. Also, in line with the 2010 EA - sickness days are no longer asked for at the point of reference. I hope you get support from your union.

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