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Grievance raised against me

(166 Posts)
Piggywaspushed Sat 13-May-17 07:39:50

I posted this yesterday in staffroom but I might get more traffic here possibly. (Sorry, I have made it longer so as to avoid dripfeeding but I don't want to out myself at the same time. I have NCd)

I don't want to go into too much detail here but does anyone have any experience of/ advice on having a grievance procedure raised against them?

Am in bits and most of online advice is for the aggrieved party and the info the head gave m yesterday is aimed at the aggrieved party, too. My local union guy is an old fashioned socialist type who, last time I met him, launched into a discussion about education and politics and wasn't useful.

Not been told what I have allegedly done just who has raised a grievance.

I don't need a character assassination here but just an outline of what valid grievances someone could have against another person : the colleague who has raised her grievance is not in any way my junior. We are co workers. She is not in two days a week and we only ever really communicate via emails so I am puzzled.

I also want to know , if her complaint is proven, what her endgame(s) could be?

I am being very careful not to now go around fact finding with my department colleagues (I have only told one and she is a close friend) but, for example, she spends a lot of time in our HoD's office with door closed (it's an interesting leadership style my HoD has!)if she has raised problems there, my HoD has never discussed these with me so this is a bolt from the blue. I know someone who worked with her in a previous school - a bit of digging reveals she has done this before : but , obviously, I can't mention this as an excuse! I think she knows I have a bit of a reputation for being a bit of a rebel and this makes me a soft target. I certainly inadvertently upset my line manager last week who then (apparently) cried and this aggrieved colleague rushed to soothe her. No doubt they then had a good bitch about me. But the line manager herself discussed matters with me later,and certainly hasn't raised a grievance herself. It just isn't what people do in my school.

It is clear she does not like me - but I can't see that as a viable reason to raise a grievance!

Lastly, assuming she has put this grievance in writing, should I request to see it? What are my rights there?

She has been frustrating me ever since she came to the school (she is a kind of automaton and keeps planning my lessons for me and organising me and I have found it hard to keep up.) - but I have never raised any of these issues as they seemed petty and I thought we were both just rubbing along. She seems to find me borderline incompetent : but that isn't a grievance, is it?

JustMyLuckUnfortunately Sat 13-May-17 07:54:54

Do you two job share? I'm guessing that from you working different days and mentioning she tries to plan lessons for you?

Piggywaspushed Sat 13-May-17 08:37:28

No , we don't job share.

We share three classes - otherwise we have no reposnsibility towards each other/ need to work togtehr.

Our department has recently decided that we should 'co-teach' shared classes which does mean a lot of liaison is required. it's not very easy and especially when the other colleague is part time.

She seems to take the co teaching idea quite enthusiastically, whereas I tend to look for more practicable solutions, possibly. Sharing classes with me may, therefore, be different from sharing with other colleagues - but not necessarily more difficult imo.

She was plainly fairly annoyed with me this week when I confessed (that was the tone of my email , apologetic) that I had fallen behind and promised I would do my best to catch up so we could help each other out with something next week. I did catch up, so all was well as far as I was concerned.

I think the trying to plan my lessons thing (to be fair she's done that once) stems back to her previously being a head of English. I thought I engaged in a professional dialogue with her over that. I think she may beg to differ.

Piggywaspushed Sat 13-May-17 08:40:34

Essentially, I suppose what I am trying to say is that I feel she disapproves of me.

But I think her line may well be that I ma bullying her.

Bluntness100 Sat 13-May-17 08:44:53

Ok so all you've been told is she raised a grievance and not told what it was? Is this correct? Have they told you the process they will follow to investigate the grievance?

TheFallenMadonna Sat 13-May-17 08:45:22

What does co-teaching mean in this context?

KingLooieCatz Sat 13-May-17 08:46:00

ACAS can sometimes be more useful than a union rep. I would have thought you need to know what she is saying. If your line manager cried about something you said it may be that you're coming over a little more robust than you realise. I've been there. Or it could be your colleagues have a delicate flower culture. Anyway, try ACAS helpline when they're open.

MiladyThesaurus Sat 13-May-17 08:46:16

I would have thought that you should be told what the allegations against you are. Telling someone that a grievance has been raised against them but not what they're being accused of seems deeply unfair and unprofessional.

Piggywaspushed Sat 13-May-17 08:48:59

Hi bluntness

Yes, that is correct.

My head kept stressing the word ;informal'. He said (I think : was in shock) that eh didn't know what the grievance was, but eh may have said he wasn't going to say. He just kept telling me I needed to read the booklet he gave me.

A member of SLT plans to meet with me and the other party (separately) asap. That is all I know.

The head told me not to worry and that he was sure it could all be sorted out. He is often rather curt with me so I was surprised that he was kind. I am ultra anxious, as you can tell .

Piggywaspushed Sat 13-May-17 08:50:04


Touche : it's a bit of both, I suspect!

Piggywaspushed Sat 13-May-17 08:53:56

Madonna : co teaching means colleagues share a class but instead of teaching separate units / things they teach the same thing as each other - so lesson by lesson one need to know where the other has got to. It's not a very flexible approach so I struggle as I am a free spirit - and difficulties are exacerbated if the other colleague is part time. Most of the department don't enjoy this so I am not alone here in finding it tough.

I also share a class where we are teaching different units so haven't had to communicate much about that (oddly, though, I think this is where some of the issues might arise because I think she might struggle a bit with that group and their dynamic : I don't know this form her, though)

notanurse2017 Sat 13-May-17 08:56:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Piggywaspushed Sat 13-May-17 08:58:08

Hi nurse

Only insofar as it might have helped her to form a picture of me as a cowbag.

It was not otherwise at all connected to her.

Piggywaspushed Sat 13-May-17 08:59:46

No one heard the conversation between the two at all. My head says my HoD is unaware of the grievance and I have to take that at face value for the meantime.

Piggywaspushed Sat 13-May-17 09:02:00

Thanks all for your input so far - am going shopping so won't be able to answer queries for a while. But keep posting ; it's nice to have a sounding board.

My friends tell me off for acknowledging guilt and apologising too readily and I can see that is what I am doing here. To be clear : I firmly believe I have done nothing so wrong that this colleague would have a serious grievance.

Temporaryanonymity Sat 13-May-17 09:06:57

You have mentioned a few times here that she is part time and this makes things difficult. Have you ever given her this impression?

MissWilmottsGhost Sat 13-May-17 09:08:32

The co-teaching thing sounds like a disaster waiting to happen if you have very different styles.

I'm in the process of raising a grievance against a senior colleague. I have only got to this point because of months of trying to sort things out informally, then more formally, and still she will not engage. She has ignored emails and not followed policies. The grievance is a last resort after running out of options and was recommended by HR and my union rep.

Your colleague may have been rather hasty. Alternatively, you may have been ignoring the problem for longer than you realize.

BigcatLittlecat Sat 13-May-17 09:08:57

With regards to the union by local guy do you mean the local rep? Or the regional office? If he is the regional office that's not great but if he's not go straight to them. Every time I've called the Union for advice I always miss out the local rep.
I have no other advice but I can understand the stress you are under! This waiting game is horrible. PM if you want.

TittyGolightly Sat 13-May-17 09:09:49

As far as process is concerned, a person raises a grievance. An independent manager will investigate whether the grievance has any grounds and will take statements from both parties. Findings presented to the manager of the individual the grievance is against who decides whether to uphold all/some of the grievance.

pennybun Sat 13-May-17 09:14:41

So the booklet is presumably the school's grievance policy? I can't imagine any organisation has a grievance policy which allows the content of the grievance to remain a secret and only provides information on who has raised it. I'm not a teacher... but a school governor with Pay and HR responsibilities btw.

You seem to suggest that the problems stem from your co teaching - so I think you should track back to see what your HoD or other line manager gave you both in terms of ground rules/work styles/guidance when this was put in place. You (and your co teacher) may be having problems because your (mutual?) line manager has not managed this properly. Also worth looking at your last appraisal, lesson observations, feedback etc and reconciling that to any content of the grievance. That said, your colleague should not be raising your performance issues as a grievance as you know and others have said - you LM should be doing that.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 13-May-17 09:21:54

Co-teaching in that way works when you have very clear SoW in place and shared resources. Do you? And what do you mean when you say you have a reputation as a rebel?

StiffyByng Sat 13-May-17 09:26:02

The same thought occurred to me about the mentions of part time working. As someone who works flexible hours I do get a bit sick of comments about my working pattern. Have you said anything about it to her?

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Sat 13-May-17 09:55:06

I'm not a teacher but do teach adults sometimes. IME, as others have said, co-teaching is a nightmare when you have completely different styles. I co-taught for a while with someone who planned to the nth degree. I am the relaxed one and it was really horrible for both of us. She felt I was disorganised and I felt I couldn't breathe without using a checklist. I'm not sure it can ever work tbh. I am the part time one in the situation if that has any relevance.

Piggywaspushed Sat 13-May-17 10:50:43

OK , back!

Some answers.

I am sorry if I sounded anti part time. This is not true at all. The colleague she is covering for was part time and we have a harmonious working relationship. A fair few of the department are part time in fact. The issue with her being part time is an issue of communication re the co teaching and nothing else. I leave notes on her desk and email her to keep things going. One issue at first was that she didn't attend a parents' evening. It is the only issue I raised with my LM as it directly increased my workload. She has attended all since.

There are usually SOWs yes to support the co teaching but the SOW really are written as if there is one teacher so I decided that I could do the SOW largely and that she would do something to support it. We have generally split class marking in two , as we have agreed, or I have done it all. People above who bemoan co teaching have hit the nail on the head . It is often accompanied by the watchwords of 'consistency' and 'data deadlines'
The co teaching issue will be partly resolved next year, I gather.(The woman responsible for many of the less popular changes is leaving)

The booklet came from a Local Authority : I am presuming we follow their guidance. It doesn't cover my rights at all but we all seem to be in agreement that I must have the right to see her complaint? In advance of any meeting?

I think my head wants this resolved quickly.

We have an odd thing at our school where we all begin new timetables shortly. As it stands , I will now be sharing only one class with the colleague, so I can't understand why she feels the need to act.

I am sometimes a bit forthright in my views is what I mean by a rebel : where others complain and carp in secret rooms, I will often express my opinions (not in a rude way but some can, I guess, find it threatening) but I have never expressed an opinion to this person as I can see she is very much a management type. Also ,she has no responsibility so I wouldn't raise ideas or issues to her, anyway.

I have noticed a distinct frostiness in her attitude to me but decided it was just differing personalities and attitudes to work and that it was not worth bothering over.

If I thought I had caused her a bit of extra workload, I would have thought that could be tackled a different way. If I believed I had upset her I'd be distraught as I would never intend to do so.

Piggywaspushed Sat 13-May-17 10:54:22

You seem to suggest that the problems stem from your co teaching - so I think you should track back to see what your HoD or other line manager gave you both in terms of ground rules/work styles/guidance when this was put in place. You (and your co teacher) may be having problems because your (mutual?) line manager has not managed this properly. Also worth looking at your last appraisal, lesson observations, feedback etc and reconciling that to any content of the grievance. That said, your colleague should not be raising your performance issues as a grievance as you know and others have said - you LM should be doing that.

penny all interesting points. The co teaching has definitely been an issue for the whole department and guidance has been lacking. We have essentially all muddled along. I have shared with two other colleagues. It's draining when you have more of the lessons as it seems you are almost expected to tell the other what t teach - which increases workload but it's been OK with the other colleagues. The classes I shared with the aggrieved party are more 50:50 splits so there is no sense of seniority. That may have blurred lines a little.

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