Any clever legally minded people?

Hi All

am going through grievance procedure in work and am wondering if anyone can shed any legal light on the following question; I have got 3 witnesses to bullying behaviour and false allegation aimed at me, but this is deemed insufficient evidence. In a court of law would three seperate personal accounts be sufficient evidence?

Thanks in advance

Freckles x

Meant to be separate! Wish we could have spell check on here!

regards

Freckles x

Blimey Freckles, I wouldn’t like to work where you do. 3 Bullying witnesses and that’s not enough - how does that work? Have you got Trade Union support? ACAS may be able to help. I have accessed free legal advice because I have MS. probably not allowed to put telephone number here. Try googling it or phone the MS support line and maybe they will have it. Good luck Min xx

Hi Freckles,

It would depend entirely on the credibility of the witnesses, which would be one of the things the court would have to determine.

The fact someone could amass three friends to support their version of events wouldn’t necessarily mean case proved.

Also would each of the witnesses be reporting things they personally saw or heard? Or would it be stuff they might have learnt from talking to you, or to each other? Generally, the latter is not acceptable in court, because it’s what’s known as hearsay. E.g. hearing you come out of a meeting saying you’d been bullied would not be acceptable, because it’s basically just repeating evidence that originally came from you. But actually being in the meeting and seeing/hearing for themselves that you were bullied would be.

The general rule is that if they witnessed it directly for themselves, fine. But if they heard about it from anybody else - including you - not fine.

Tina

Hi All

thanks for your replies, I’m really in unknown territory here as have never been involved in anything like this.

I have the support of my colleagues who are aware of it, including the head of the school. The only one who isn’t supporting me, is the Chair of Governors. He told me he was going to quash it and indeed the first grievance meeting we had he decided there was insufficient evidence! I have appealed this decision and there is a meeting next thursday with three different governors, all of whom are decent people with integrity who will come to their own conclusion. (Hopefully the right one!)

All three witnesses have independantly heard and seen the offensive behaviour directed at me. One of them is part of the senior management team so I’m hopeful her interpretation will add a bit of weight to my complaints!

This negative behaviour only started when I became ill with what turned out to be ms, an example of things is; time I’ve had off work, things I could no longer do and having to finish early and “get out of the way because you are walking too slow with that stick and holding everyone up!” (nice girl!) This is just a brief outline of verbal thigs picked upon.

Since I first raised the issue with line manager it has moved from verbal to physical. She came into my face verbally intimidating so I stepped back and tripped over my stick. She has kicked my stick away from me as she’s walked past, and deliberately knocked bags out of my hands as she’s passed.

I’m trying to find where I can get free legal advice because of ms as this is the primary reason for all this, but don’t know how this can be applied to a school setting that falls under the local authority.

Sorry for the long post it’s just good to talk without bawling like a baby.

Freckles xxx

Hi Min

was the advice you had with a national firm of solicitors, or just one particular solicitor who offered this service?

Thanks

Freckles xxx

When I had a potential work problem I rang the ms society helpline 0808 800 8000. They told me that they had a legal team for advice if I needed it.

Hi Freckles, It was with a firm of solicitors. Not sure whether they we national. Pudding lover has given you a good number to phone to access a legal team. Good luck Min xx

Hi Freckles,

Any legal advice you get will only be as good as the information you give them. And (big and, this) you have to know what outcome you want.
Just think: do you want the bully nailed to the school door at noon, or asked to leave; and do you want to stay at that school after.

Any lawyer shoud be concerned with the “facts of the case”.
These are a statement of who did what to who, when and where, and what action was then taken by either party.

Why the chairman of the governors is against you is another issue that may be very relevant but is probably not part of the facts. Probably Wales (given your avatar) so is the chairman a big man it the local chapel?

Next up is a big question - is this a school or an academy? This determines just where the buck stops after the chairman, and this is where the chairman’s motivation may come in.

Some lawyers would think in terms of a big court case, and others will think in terms of a tribunal - if they do not know what you want as an outcome, they may start to build a case that will not give you that outcome. A case that gets publicity, makes the head or the chairman look bad, could affect the applications for places for the coming year and make a lot of difference to all those published league tables. For you, a big out-of-court settlement might be nice, but you could also be looking for another job.

If the bully leaves, this might solve your immediate problem - but you may still have to watch for that chairman.

So, please, think of what you want as an outcome, and what will result from that outcome.

Geoff

Totally agree with Min ACAS http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1461 EHRC http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/ DIAL http://www.dialuk.info/ who will come around your house and possible go to the tribunal. Or Benefits and work http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/ who give excellent advice costs £19.40 per year. The DLS give excellent free advice http://www.dls.org.uk/advice/factsheet/factsheets_download.html it is essential you get help.

Don’t get a solicitor; they are very expensive.

G

Thanks all for the replies and useful numbers and web sites.

Geoff you have hit the nail on the head! The Chair is quite big in the community part of the local town council and on just about every committee going! (As far as I’m aware he doesn’t go to chapel!) He has given the impression that he thinks the whole matter is too trivial to bother with, and told me he thought it was childish! Well he has shot himself in the foot by telling one of my witnesses not to get involved, and as she is part of the senior management team she feels obliged to listen to him. I have asked her to seriously think about speaking up even if it’s in a written satement.

As to what outcome I want, that is a tricky one. I don’t believe that while we both work in the same school it will ever stop. I’ve got no intention of moving so I guess the best result for me would be if she was asked to leave. It seems a bit harsh but if she seriously thought about the consequences of her actions maybe she would think twice about doing it! Someone in human resources from the city authority (it’s not an academy but local county primary school) we fall under is attending the meeting next thursday, and if our peronnel files were looked at hers would make interesting reading, she’s come to school reeking of alcohol on more than one occasion (including first thing in the morning!). Also she is on a written warning for absenteeism.

I used to consider myself to be a strong person who achieved most goals I set myself. I am Chair of the PTA at the school and routinely organise major events that hundrerds of people attend. I am leading a massive campaign against the local authority (my employers yikes!) because they want to sell of our playing field. But this whole episode has exposed a real weakness in my character because I’m constantly stressed, (GP wanted to sign me off for a while he said stress levels were too high!) I can’t sleep and as fatigue is one of my main symptoms it is tough!

I’ve always been described as a bubbly happy person, and make others laugh usually at my own expense. But to be honest finding it difficult to maintain my positivity! I think I’ve lost my mojo somewhere.

Freckles xxx

Hi All

following your good advice I phoned the ms society who in turn put me in touch with the Disability Law Service. Spoke to a solicitor who thinks that based on the evidence I have really should be successful with my grievance appeal. I only wish she could go into todays meeting instead of me! Absoutely terrified hate any form of confrontation, and the worst bit is we are all going to be in the same room and can ask questions of each other!

Freckles x

Hi All

I can’t believe it! The appeal meeting has been postponed because the colleague who has been giving me all the harrasment at work, has decided to go off on the sick!

Freckles