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Grievance upheld against serial bully...mediation??

(35 Posts)
winterpansy Fri 14-Dec-12 20:52:04

I am going through a bit of a hard time at the minute and could do with some advice. I've been off work on work-related stress for 6 weeks now and on 8th Oct I submitted a grievance of bullying, harrassment and discrimination against the CEO. It's a small organisation of just 5 people so you can imagine this was incredibly difficult to get the guts to actually go raise the complaint. There was an investigation which has uncovered that 2 previous female staff members left because of his behaviour, there has been a previous grievance upheld against him for similar reasons and yet he has got away with this for years because the board have essentially let him.

I found out on Wednesday that my grievance was also upheld - in full. There were 17 examples of his behaviour in my complaint and each one was proved to be true. The investigator told me that he presented his report into the grievance and exposed the truth about this man's serial bullying and abuse of women. The Chair of the Board told me I would hear today what the outcome would be. I found it strange that he didn't tell me what it was straight away but was ready to celebrate getting rid of the evil man.

So, as you can imagine, I was full of the joys of Spring as I wrongly assumed that as he has been found guilty of gross misconduct, he would be dismissed.
This meant I could go back to my job, which I enjoy, and start to ttc DC2 as DH and I had been planning.

Today I recieved the outcome of my grievance -they want me to go for mediation with this man through ACAS! That's it. The only outcome. I am devastated that he is not even being disciplined for his behaviour and has got away with this again. I have appealed the decision and am waiting to get a date back for the meeting but assuming the appeal will not change anything, I am going to have to hand my notice in. I can't work with him. Is this good enough grounds for constructive dismissal? I know it's really hard to prove it in an ET but the guy who did the report is willing to be a witness, as are the other people who left the company because of him.

I'm just rambling now but would appreciate any feedback anyone may have. I'm so stressed and upset.

GozerTheGozerian Fri 14-Dec-12 20:57:56

I would say that having so many grounds upheld would help a constructive dismissal claim. It shows that they believe you and that he has behaved in this way towards you. Unfortunately though you don't really get to determine what happens next.

Do they have a bullying and harassment policy? Examples of gross misconduct in a disciplinary policy?

Sad to say though, in a small business, they might be weighing up the relative risks and merits of losing you vs losing him.

Sounds as if you have a decent case though - but you'll need to continue with the appsl process.

Doinmummy Fri 14-Dec-12 21:00:07

Do they expect you to sit opposite such a bully and " talk it through?". I'd find that really hard to do. I very much doubt someone like that will change their ways . I don't know about the law but I'd hope thus would be classes as constructive dismissal .

winterpansy Fri 14-Dec-12 21:09:56

Thanks so much Goxer and Doin.

It's good to be have some reassurance that my rage is justified! It would be easier just to walk away but I want to stand up for what is right and not let it happen to anyone else.

There was supposed to be a bullying and harrassment policy put into place after his last grievance was upheld but it never materialised (I have proof of this via the ex-colleague who took the previous grievance). There are also no examples of what constitutes gross misconduct in our staff handbook.

I guess it would be easier to get rid of me and hush it up but I won't give up without a fight. I've effectively lost my job already so I've nothing else to lose.

Doinmummy Fri 14-Dec-12 21:23:44

Exactly . Sounds like you have a good case. Be brave , stand your ground and good luck.

winterpansy Fri 14-Dec-12 21:41:31

Thank you so much for the good wishes doin. Much appreciated!

Doinmummy Sat 15-Dec-12 00:09:18

Keep us posted on how you get on. X

winterpansy Sat 15-Dec-12 10:04:28

Will do, cheers x

BluelightsAndSirens Sat 15-Dec-12 15:27:20

Have they told you when the first mediation session will take place? Do yo have a HR dept, I would look into taking the ex collegue with you as your chaperone.

I'm so pleased to read that you are going to go down fighting, so many people get away with this behaviour because they get away with it time and time again, I bet you will find he isn't very good at defending himself in a one to be situation as he will be so used to the board etc covering his back.

Good luck

winterpansy Sat 15-Dec-12 19:37:27

Hello blue No, they haven't told when it will take place but I am definitely not going! There is no way I can go. He has shown no remorse and in fact he's called me a liar and said I had psychological problems (I don't) and that he thought I had been railroaded into making the grievance. He's pretty mental himself.

I can't work with him, never mind be in the same room as him after this so I will have to resign at some point very soon. I'm seeing my solicitor next week to plan my next move.

Thanks for the good luck...I'll need it!

BluelightsAndSirens Sat 15-Dec-12 19:42:06

It sounds like a dreadful situation to be in, I hope you can find new employment and be able to move on.

Have some more good luck.

monsterchild Sat 15-Dec-12 19:45:51

It sounds like you have a good case for constructive dismissal. especially since it's not typical to handle bullying and threats with mediation, especially after he's been found to have done those things.

I think solicitor is the way to go. It could be the Board will change their tune when they discover that keeping him will cost them more than dismissing him.

Good luck!

monsterchild Sat 15-Dec-12 19:46:56

Also raise the issue with your solicitor that they KNOW about his behaviors from previous employees, and that they CONTINUE to allow him to act this way. That may lead to grounds for punitive damages against the BOARD, not just him. As is should.

sandripples Sat 15-Dec-12 20:57:41

I'm an HR manager and I agree you need legal advice. I think you also might have an option of making a claim without resigning - please ask your solicitor about this - it might be that you could make a claim and then the solicitor would seek an arrangement for you to leave with a settlement - you might not feel this is justice but it could potentially be less stressful for you, and leave you with a financial cushion plus an agreed positive reference, before you finally leave.

A strong letter from your solicitor about why you will not countenance mediation is probably the first next step anyway - solicitor will need to have sight of the employer's policies on bullying and also misconduct.

winterpansy Sun 16-Dec-12 13:46:03

Thanks monster and sand I am meeting a solicitor friend for coffee tomorrow and have sent her all my info. She will give me coaching for the appeal meeting and then we will get cracking officially on the case.
I feel so ill because of all this. I just want to go to work in a safe environment but that cannot be the case in this place so it's time to go - but I may as well cause them as much of a headache as possible.

Thanks again everyone.

Mythreeknights Mon 17-Dec-12 09:27:38

Hi winterpansy, just popped over from the 'slightly pointless' forum to see more about your work situation...sounds terrible and no wonder you are gutted. Sandripples seems to have some solid advice and it's great that you are seeing your solicitor. Whilst it is grossly unfair that you are having to job-hunt and be the one to move away, if you can get a good financial package from your worthless board members to cushion to blow as it were, then perhaps you will feel some degree of closure over this situation in the future.
As revenge is best served cold, perhaps a nice little 'leak' to the local paper once you have spoken to your solicitor would be satisfying?
Good luck xx

Mythreeknights Mon 17-Dec-12 09:28:09

And remember Lear (or was it Hamlet) "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned".

winterpansy Thu 20-Dec-12 22:00:20

Thanks mythreeknight Haven't been back to ttc thread for a few days as I am so down about having to wait.

Basically, I asked could I appeal and pointed out exactly how ludacrious the idea of mediation was. I was told I could not appeal and to let them know within 7 days if I was going to accept mediation. Which I clearly wasn't going to. So I saw a solicitor who says I have an excellent case for sex discrimination especially as the company upheld the grievance themselves! But in order for me to move on swiftly, he offered them a compromise agreement for a few months wages, references etc. but there was a time limit on the offer as we needed to launch ET proceedings soon. They refused the CA and said they were dismayed at the time limit (!) as they could not convene the board in time to make a decision.

So ET claim is being launched tomorrow. I am desperately hoping they settle out of court if they meet after Christmas but the ET is insurance anyway. I need to resign though so am going to ask solicitor tomorrow when is the best time to do this.

I'm losing my mind with all this sad

Autumnchill Fri 21-Dec-12 07:39:57

I feel for you as I know how consuming it can be. My Husband is going through an ET at the moment and the date set is over a year after he left employment.

All I can suggest is take the solicitors advice and play the long game. I think once you resign you will feel like a weight is off your shoulders but don't expect it to be a quick process and you'll go through all sorts of emotions but don't lose sight of the fact that you are in the right.

flowerytaleofNewYork Fri 21-Dec-12 11:37:49

Hopefully it won't be a long game at all, as I'm sure they'll want to settle quickly.

I agree with your solicitor OP. With constructive dismissal it's difficult and lengthy because often there's a lot of he said she said with mud being thrown on both sides and very subjective information being given.

This case is very different because your grievance was upheld, ie they do not deny what happen or think that it was acceptable. There is no dispute as to who's in the wrong and to the facts, which is fantastic.

When a very senior member of staff is involved, especially the CEO, taking action is very difficult and sensitive, and in a small organisation even more so.

It's clear that one of you had to go, and it looks like getting rid of the CEO wasn't something they felt able/willing to do, or at least not this soon. You'd hope he'd fall on his sword given the very vulnerable position he's put the organisation in, and the PR risks involved, but that's not happened yet anyway.

I would expect them to offer to settle pretty soon. You are in a strong position so hold out for a decent settlement, and get a very good reference agreed as well.

winterpansy Sat 22-Dec-12 14:11:59

Thanks autumn I hope your husband's case goes as easily as possible. It's an awful thing to have to go through - most people just want to go to work, do a good job and then go home with no hassle!

flowery Yes, it all seems straight forward and there is no way they can deny any of the stuff that is in the claim form so I am hopeful they will even settle before the 28 days they have to give their response. PR wise, I work for a publically funded company who are under scrutiny quite a bit so it would be very damaging for them if this gets out. I actually feel much better about the whole thing now the claim has gone it - I feel some satisfaction that after the holidays they will be receiving notice of my claim. I'd love to see their faces!
So, I'm not resigning until I absolutely have to so they have a chance to accept the CA. Thanks for your comments.

I'll update after Christmas. Have a good one everybody!

winterpansy Sat 05-Jan-13 22:01:25

Hello - I have an update!

Well, they turned down the compromise agreement offer before Christmas as 'they did not have enough time to consider it properly as it was too short notice to get the board together'(!) so my solicitor submitted the ET Claim for Sex Discrimination.

So, I haven't resigned yet but have managed to get a part-time job (which I'm very happy about!) starting in a few weeks so need to speak to the solicitor to see how/when to go about it. I've heard nothing from work at all apart from when i send in my sick notes.

My Uncle/Godfather has offered to give me money to take this to court and turn down any offered settlements (if they appear!) but I think I just want it all over and done with as soon as possible. Once I start my new job we will be ttc DC2 and I just want to concentrate on my family without this nonsense hanging over me.

My colleague/friend who still currently works there is applying for jobs left, right and centre so if she gets one of them we will be overjoyed that their incompetance will have lost them 50% of the staff and there will be serious questions asked!

But, I'm in much better form about it all and am a lot less stressed. The Christmas break from it all did me the world of good!

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Sat 05-Jan-13 22:07:46

I've been following your thread, so sorry you have been treated like this but glad you are finding your way through.

What arseholes your board are!

winterpansy Sat 05-Jan-13 22:18:45

Thank you! I am indeed in a much better place mentally to get through this. I've had incredible support from friends and family - who are all outraged and incensed on my behalf. Getting the new job has given me a little more confidence (it's been waning for some time due to the CEO behaviour) and I can't wait to get stuck into it. It won't pay as much but will be very rewarding, I'll have more time with DS and we will just about manage financially so all is good and I'm very optimistic. And...I'll hopefully never have to see anyone involved in this every again. That's a winner in itself!

Yes, arseholes they are indeed. Incompetent, arrogant, obtuse, cold, moronic…I could go on grin

TheDailyWail Tue 15-Jan-13 22:40:37

fingers crossed for your new job. wasn't that lovely of your uncle to offer financial support to take this to court?

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