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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46195
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I believe that my daughter is being bullied at work and it

Customer Question

I believe that my daughter is being bullied at work and it has been a work in progress for at least 18 months. She has always been considered to be a competant teacher and as I understand the situation there is no question of inefficiency procedures be invoked by the head teacher however she is continually undermining my daughters self confidence. The present situations is that my daughter is now on medication and her doctor is recommending that she is sign off work. My daughter is reluctant to take this action.
I know that TU help can be called in to support her for any confrontation with the head teacher but my daughter has lost any motivation she might have had to take this line of action and seems to accept "it's all her fault" and there is nothing she can do about the situation in which she finds herself.
As a concerned father my instincts tell me to go into the school confront the head teacher but my daughter is well past the age of her majority and probably wouldn't appreciate my intervention but I can't just standby and watch her being destroyed. The knock on effect of her being pushed out of the profession are considerable since she has a mortgage and other commitments that she couldn't possibly cover on a reduced salary
Any advice you can give to get me out of this moral will be appreciated because at the moment I feel as helpless as my daughter.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

hello how long has she worked there for?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
About 8 years. She has been teaching for 20 years plus
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Thank you. Bullying is unfortunately something that happens all too often in the workplace. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) defines bullying as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.” Whatever form it takes, it is unwarranted and unwelcome to the individual subjected to it.

Under law, specifically the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, an employer has a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees. In addition, they have the implied contractual duty to provide a safe and suitable working environment. That includes preventing, or at least effectively dealing with bullying behaviour occurring in the workplace.

In terms of what the victim of bullying can do to try and deal with such problems, the following steps are recommended:

1. First of all, and if appropriate, the employee should try and resolve the issue informally with the person responsible for the bullying.
2. If the above does not work or is not a viable option, the employee should consider raising a formal grievance with the employer by following the company's grievance policy. This formally brings the bullying issue to the attention of the employer and they will have a duty to investigate and deal with it.
3. If, following a grievance, the employer fails to take any action or the action they take is inappropriate, the employee would need to seriously consider their next steps. Unfortunately, employment law does not allow employees to make a direct claim about bullying. As such, the most common way of claiming for bullying is by resigning first and then submitting a claim for constructive dismissal in an employment tribunal (subject to having at least 2 years' continuous service with the employer). The reason for resigning would be to claim that by failing to act appropriately, the employer has breached the implied terms of mutual trust and confidence and failed to provide a safe working environment and that there was no other option but to resign. However, this step should only be used as a last resort as it can be risky, after all it will result in the employment being terminated.

In general, a victim should try and gather as much evidence as possible before considering making a formal complaint and certainly before going down the resignation route. As bullying often takes verbal form, the best way is to keep a detailed diary of all bullying occasions so that there is at least some reference in written form that the employer and/or the tribunal can refer to.

This is her basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the ways she can try an resolve this without legal action, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46195
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and 2 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
What would be the consequences of my visiting the Chief Education Officer of this area and complaining as a concerned citizen?
It seems wholly unfair that the victim must give up everything just to appeal whilst the perpetrator loses nothing and achieves his/her aim.
Why should this bullying be treated differently from abuse in the home?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Thank you. An alternative way out is to approach the employer on a 'without prejudice' basis (i.e. off the record) to try and discuss the possibility of leaving under a settlement agreement. Under a settlement agreement, the employee gets compensated for leaving the company and in return promises not to make any claims against the employer in the future. It is essentially a clean break, although the employer does not have to agree to it so it will be subject to negotiation. In any event, there is nothing to lose by raising this possibility with them because she cannot be treated detrimentally for suggesting it and it would not be used against her.

Also there is nothing stopping you from visiting the CEO and raising these concerns but as you are an outside party and not employed by them, they do not have to entertain your complaint over this or disclose any information to you about it.

I understand why you do not agree with the position on bullying but as it currently stands, in law the victims of bullying in employment settings do not get great protection. The main protection is aimed at discrimination, where people are being treated unfavourably due to race, religion, disability, etc – general bullying does not get the same level of protection unfortunately but it is the way it is, not much can be done about that.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

You are most welcome

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