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Informal grievance ignored

(14 Posts)
Shockedmum75 Wed 20-Nov-13 17:57:50

Hi, after years and years of bullying by an incredibly nasty boss, I finally found the courage to report him to his line manager (the CEO). I initially spoke to hr who said that the only option was to go down the formal grievance route, which I suspect was to scare me off and has been used as a tactic on many occasions before.

I read through the staff manual and under the dignity and respect at work policy it clearly states that it would be preferable to exhaust the informal procedures first. This is speaking directly to the person involved, either with or without hr, or if not comfortable with that to their line manager. So this I did.

I sent a letter outlining the main points of my issues, two weeks after the final big blow up to both my boss and his clearly requesting that informal proceedings are begun with a view to resolving the situation. Both the boss and the CEO have had the paperwork now for two weeks and nada. Nothing. Not an email or phone call even acknowledging that there is an issue. No time sales are set out in the informal procedures, but I would have thought that not even acknowledging the issue would not stand them in good stead if legal proceedings are on the cards.
Now as it happens the big blow up was the kick up the arse I needed and I have found another job, but I can't hand my notice in until January. They don't know this obviously.
So I could leave it, hand notice in after Christmas and move on but I am tempted to say ok I will go formal as my concerns aren't being addressed. I would like to be paid off, as they clearly don't want me there anymore, and I really don't want to be there, but can I go to them with a request for a without prejudice conversation?
The culture of fear instilled in the office is so bad that when I was going to go formal on hr advice, no one dared even be a witness and anyone I asked was approached by hr afterwards and questioned. Then I was pulled and told not to discuss it with anyone. How can I get a witness if you don't let me talk to anyone!
I would quite like to miss the formal stage out as the whole process is so clearly corrupt. Can I go straight to an employment solicitor?
Sorry so many questions. Right now I should be angry, but tbh I am not surprised at all, and can't even muster up any anger. The fight would be out of bloody minded ness, I am over the moon to know I am leaving, just a shame it isn't sooner!!

WallyBantersJunkBox Wed 20-Nov-13 18:02:18

Can you get an initial consultation with a solicitor?

You don't have to have an employee as a witness, it could be a friend or partner, family member etc. they just need to take notes.

I'm glad that you have found an escape plan for yourself.

Shockedmum75 Wed 20-Nov-13 18:08:42

Escape plan is very apt, that is indeed how it feels. They will only let other colleagues or a registered union rep in with you, but at this stage there is nothing to go into!
I could get a solicitors appointment, but would they tell me to go trough te whole process first?

Moggy72 Wed 20-Nov-13 18:09:23

Congrats on finding a new job ! This is the best possible outcome. The grievance route only has one victim - which is you. I know that from personal experience - I am out of a job for raising a grievance against a bully at work. Personally I would wait until after Xmas and hand in your notice. Download any evidence of documentation and find a cheapish employment lawyer to help you get a financial settlement. Much less stressful than doing anything now.
Good luck.

Moggy72 Wed 20-Nov-13 18:10:22

By the way no one will act as a witness, trust me on that.

Shockedmum75 Wed 20-Nov-13 18:18:41

Thanks moggy. Too true, no one stick their head above the parapet. 17 years with completely clean record and this is how I am treated.
I am going to be self employed and will need to pay to re train, so I could do with just getting paid off. I have effectively managed myself out of a job and spend my entire day on mums net. I know that sounds like a dream but after months of it, love you all as I do, it has become soul destroying!
They know this and are just keeping me on for the two times a year it is incredibly busy and only I can do the job.

Moggy72 Wed 20-Nov-13 20:11:52

I was devastated too. I had a stellar career and came totally unstuck. A year on I still haven't found a job. But I don't have any regrets - the situation was unsustainable and it was a relief to get out of there. I have spent the past year having good quality time with my three kids. Something good will come out of it for you too. It is pointless trying to bring your boss down and get justice. He has the backing of the company. Get out and get on with your life - and get yourself a lawyer on the way out. Best of luck.

Shockedmum75 Wed 20-Nov-13 20:33:04

Thanks moggy. I have 2 DC so a happier me will mean a happier them too.
Sorry to hear you have gone through the same thing, I hope you find something that makes you happy soon thanks

Moggy72 Thu 21-Nov-13 10:30:48

Thanks Shockedmum. Just to be clear you mustn't resign before engaging a lawyer. Once you resign you stand very little chance of getting anything. It is also often hard to prove that bullying took place. But the fact they haven't investigated your grievance is probably a breach of procedure. So the less they do now - the better for you. I hope that makes sense.

flowery Thu 21-Nov-13 13:12:16

I'm confused. The internal procedure is to speak to the person involved or to their line manager, which you have done.

You have now escalated to a written complaint, but don't think this is the formal stage? confused

If you've done the informal stage of speaking to the relevant person, and have now put in a written complaint, surely that is the formal stage, isn't it? But you've asked for informal proceedings?

Either way, although they should of course have acknowledged your formal/informal grievance by now and arranged a hearing/informal meeting/whatever to discuss it, the fact that they haven't doesn't mean it's time to consider a legal claim or that you will get any kind of financial settlement.

What attempt have you made to follow this up? Did you copy in HR to the original letter?

Shockedmum75 Fri 22-Nov-13 08:33:39

Can't say too much without outing myself, but it was a formal request for informal proceedings to start. The document was dual purpose and had to be written anyway, so it was the easiest way to set everything out to the CEO without getting flustered.
HR and all involved are fully aware of the situation. I have now spoken with acas who have told me to send an email requesting acknowledgment and a timescale. If I don't hear anything from that then I will request the grievance be made formal so they cant ignore.
As the informal procedure forms part of my contract, acas seem to think that they may be in breach of contract for ignoring it.
Although I am over the moon to have a new job, because of their actions I will be financially disadvantaged and have to pay to re train. I believe that I have fulfilled my part of the contract, but they have made my position untenable so I have no choice but to leave.
So much more to the story, but as I said difficult without outing myself.

Thanks to all for the replies, it is always good to see an unbiased pov. Obviously my friends and family have seen me go through everything and so aren't unbiased.

flowery Fri 22-Nov-13 09:34:02

"Although I am over the moon to have a new job, because of their actions I will be financially disadvantaged and have to pay to re train. I believe that I have fulfilled my part of the contract, but they have made my position untenable so I have no choice but to leave."

Based on what you've said, you are jumping way ahead. As Acas have said, you must take further action to request your informal request is dealt with and escalate to a formal grievance first, giving them reasonable opportunity to deal with your concerns.

Shockedmum75 Fri 22-Nov-13 09:41:32

I am planning on doing so, and if it gets to the stage where I need to hand my notice in and things are still on going then I will. I am not after dragging this out and staying until they/I can bare no more. The time scale is already set out, but if I can walk away with some compensation for the whole thing then all the better.
But I can't and won't put a price on my mental health, so I will chase it on Monday, and then escalate by Wednesday if no response.

Shockedmum75 Wed 27-Nov-13 16:41:34

So I chased them up today and got the response that the director (bully) has read the complaint, told the CEO his version and plans to leave it on file with no further action. If I want I can take it further. So that is what I will do obviously, but how he can justify not even telling me until I chased him up that that was the outcome I don't know. I clearly requested informal proceedings were to begin, which involve discussion at the very least. My contract says they have to be exhausted before a formal grievance can take place.
Acas have advised that I start the formal greivance procedure but include not only my original complaint but how it was "dealt" with. I am waiting for a call back from an employment solicitor as well, as acas advised I should speak to one first.
I am finding my fight again! They have bullied everyone for years and got away with it, and this just proves they think they are above answering to anyone for their actions. Not this time bully boy!!

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