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Apology as pre-requisite for "only" a written warning ?

(30 Posts)
Tommy Tue 07-Feb-17 16:27:23

Hi all - I hope someone can help here - I am in a bit a of a state. I work in a school and am currently under investigation for a disciplinary issue. Short story is that is a church school and I made some derogatory comments about a church leader on a closed Facebook group and someone printed the conversation out and sent it to him......
I am genuinely embarrassed that he has read the comments as they obviously weren't for public viewing but the investigation and discipline process doesn't seem fair to me. The head teacher has appointed his deputy as the investigator who has written his report and recommended that, if I write a letter of apology to said church leader, I will "only" get a written warning. If I don't, it could be more serious.
Can they force me to apologise with this which feels like, a threat?
Genuinely confused and extremely upset as I really love my job but this is making me miserable....

NapQueen Tue 07-Feb-17 16:29:38

Surely "how do I go about sending my apology to this man?" Should have been your first thought? shortly followed by I will murder the blabber

Maybe they feel that as you have yet to suggest apologising they feel they need to formalise things

Tommy Tue 07-Feb-17 16:37:10

I'm happy to send him an apology - had even thought about going to visit to do so but now I am being told that I have to apologise to him plus another person (who I don't feel I need to apologise to) and unless I do it, I will get a more serious sanction. Can they demand it?
I am furious with whoever blabbed but I don't know who it is unfortunately. The moderator of the group has an idea and is taking legal advice over it

Allthebestnamesareused Tue 07-Feb-17 18:10:46

Even if it is a closed group you have published your feelings about someone on a public website. That is the risk you took.

Of course you should apologise. I don't understand your point about who was appointed to investigate. Quite often it is a deputy so that the Head would be the person would hear any appeal should there be the need for one.

In effect after investigation they have given you the option of apologising and getting a written warning but if you don't apologise they will consider the matter further and the outcome could be worse.

Why do think it is acceptable to make derogatory remarks about the church leader? If that person is attached to the school then you'd be bringing the school into disrepute too.

daisychain01 Wed 08-Feb-17 03:41:43

If you said something unflattering that you wouldn't have wanted the person to read, then I'd say you need to make amends as quickly as possible, to move this situation to a swift conclusion.

I would also make it clear in your apology that you recognise that posting something on social media was not a good idea, and you have learned your lessons for the future and won't do it again.

^^ and I'd bear your commitment in mind (it really wasn't a good idea, but I expect you recognise that now)

Re I am furious with whoever blabbed but I don't know who it is unfortunately. The moderator of the group has an idea and is taking legal advice over it please be realistic, the "blabber" has done absolutely nothing wrong, so the legal advice will be to do the above ^. ie not write stuff on the Internet in the first place.

flowery Wed 08-Feb-17 10:31:38

I am unsure what your objection is to the deputy conducting the investigation. Was he/she previously involved or something?

Your question seems mainly centred around a) whether or not it is reasonable for your employer to demand that you apologise and b) whether determining the level of sanction applied with an apology as a criteria is reasonable.

In respect of a), yes of course it is reasonable for your employer to require you to apologise. Ideally of course, they wouldn't need to require it as you would do it anyway.

In respect of b), this is a recommendation from the investigator, but I think it would be reasonable of them to take into account whether or not you had apologised when deciding what level of warning to apply, yes.

However, if the level of warning has been determined (or conditionally determined) before the disciplinary hearing has been conducted and you have had a chance to put across your side of the story, that's where the procedure is unfair. Taking an apology (or lack of) into account isn't unreasonable, it's the deciding in advance that is a problem, if that is what has happened.

So you have several options. You could apologise, go through the hearing, be contrite and acknowledge your (undoubted) error of judgment. You will be given a written warning by the sounds of things. You could then decide whether you want to appeal it based on the procedural error of deciding the level of warning in advance, or you could accept the warning as being a reasonable outcome anyway. If you appeal it based on that procedural error, that doesn't mean the level of warning would be changed.

You could not apologise, because you don't think it warrants an apology or because you are being bloody-minded and don't want to apologise if they are demanding it. You will then go through the disciplinary hearing, they will take into account the fact that you have refused to apologise when deciding what level of sanction to apply. You could then appeal that if you want to, probably on the same procedural error of deciding in advance what level of warning to apply.

HackAttack Wed 08-Feb-17 10:37:55

If a child in the school was caught posting bullying messages on social media and their defence was 'they weren't meant to see' I doubt the school would be impressed!

Fine example you make!

Apologise and stop being a total dick.

Floggingmolly Wed 08-Feb-17 10:43:04

The moderator is taking legal advice?? No way

Bloopbleep Wed 08-Feb-17 10:49:26

As soon as something is published for one other person to see it is considered to be public even if it was posted in a private group. Clearly someone felt it was out of order for you to be saying such things and has reported you for doing so. The only person at fault is you for posting it in the first place. A workplace can discipline you for anything you've published about work that tarnishes their reputation in any way. Perhaps instead of trying to find ways out you suck it up and apologise to whoever they need you to apologise and learn your lesson that nothing posted online is truly private.

flowery Wed 08-Feb-17 13:36:46

I'm also intrigued as to this legal advice the moderator is seeking. Anyone who reads anything on the group is perfectly at liberty to share it with whoever they like!

Tommy Wed 08-Feb-17 16:09:38

Thanks all - lots to think about here.
The legal advice from the moderator is that someone that seems to searching out messages and then sending them to people involved with the poster. One woman who wrote about some issues with her husband, found that someone had sent the thread to him - more serious than a work thing.

Thank you very much - all very helpful

Allthebestnamesareused Wed 08-Feb-17 16:17:28

The legal advice from the moderator is that someone that seems to searching out messages and then sending them to people involved with the poster. One woman who wrote about some issues with her husband, found that someone had sent the thread to him - more serious than a work thing.

This is NOT legal advice.

flowery Wed 08-Feb-17 16:32:02

Doesn't actually make sense either! confused

OurBlanche Wed 08-Feb-17 16:38:00

It does. You know what she meant. The fb page has a busy body on it.

Having said that I think you should just apologise and have done with it. There is ample precedence for such actions constituting serious misconduct and meaning instant dismissal!

flowery Wed 08-Feb-17 16:51:01

"You know what she meant"

No I don't, otherwise I wouldn't have said it doesn't make sense. I managed to work out that someone is sending things to other people (which is already explanatory from the OP) but was not able to decipher how that related to any kind of potential legal advice.

MichaelSheensNextDW Wed 08-Feb-17 16:52:44

If you don't demonstrate insight and remorse for your behaviour I'd expect them to come down on you like a ton of bricks, because you're a liability to the organisation. Do you not see that?

OurBlanche Wed 08-Feb-17 16:58:11

No I don't, OK! Apologies for not having put a smiley face after my comment to more clearly indicate I was being facetious!

[checks both arms for limb below the elbows grin ]

flowery Wed 08-Feb-17 17:18:02

I have absolutely no idea what difference a smiley face would have made to that comment. confused Either you think I knew all along what she meant despite saying I didn't or you don't.

Forget it. Good grief, helping people can be such hard work sometimes. I need to learn to ignore rather than engage.

OurBlanche Wed 08-Feb-17 17:21:13

Crikey! flowery I am sorry I have offended you.

That wasn't my intention. Don't let my clumsy posting put you off!

Floggingmolly Wed 08-Feb-17 17:23:28

Well, it was badly phrased but you could kind of work it out confused
The reason for legal advice is because busybody is doing what she's doing etc... rather than that being the actual advice itself <clear as mud>

StealthPolarBear Wed 08-Feb-17 17:24:17

"
Today 10:49Bloopbleep

As soon as something is published for one other person to see it is considered to be public even if it was posted in a private group."
Does this also apply to sending an email through webmail?

OurBlanche Wed 08-Feb-17 17:26:04

No, because the law around social media communications isn't that straightforward.

I was going to look for a simple explanation, but sidetracked myself by being obtuse smile

Tommy Wed 08-Feb-17 17:26:14

Yes floggingmolly - that was reason for legal advice.

llangennith Wed 08-Feb-17 17:29:57

You must be feeling awful and embarrassed and worried OP. But it's a lesson learnt.
As to the apology issue, it depends on how much you want to keep
your job. Not sure how I'd feel if I were you.
I'm sure you'd get a job in a
non-Church school if you choose to resign.

Floggingmolly Wed 08-Feb-17 17:30:05

Tell that to the Daily Mail, OurBlanche grin

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