Justice?

Dave Spence

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As you may remember I had a near 2 year break from my story writing and I am now in a position to reveal why.

In June 2017 I had a routine appraisal meeting scheduled with my line manager, on the morning of the appraisal he asked me to look after a class of students and he would put the meeting back to later in the day. I arrived at the rescheduled meeting to find not only the manager but also the HR manager. The HR manager then informed me that the manager had decided to terminate my employment with immediate effect and I was escorted off the premises by security. The reason they gave was 'performance issues'. The next week was a flurry of phone calls and e:mails trying to get them to explain what they meant by performance issues, unfortunately they would not or could not give said reasons. I actually knew the real reason, I had been told by the manager to pursue a course of action during student exams that would contravene the rules, I refused to do this and told him, in no uncertain terms, that I would not do this; this was the reason IMO for my dismissal. What really grated was the fact that he delayed the meeting in order for me to 'do him a favour' by taking an extra class when he knew that I was to be sacked. When the GCSE results came out it revealed that the department had achieved a 20% pass rate against a national average of 23%; however, my own personal results were 32%, thus making a mockery of the so called performance issues. There then followed the most traumatic and stressful 2 years I have ever known. After repeating my request for an explanation of my performance, in the light of the results and receiving a flat refusal to elaborate I sought legal counsel. I could only find one solicitor who would take the case, on a no win no fee basis and he wanted 35% of any award, I reasoned that 65% of something was better than 100% of nothing and, therefore hired him. In the meantime I was applying for teaching jobs and was lucky enough to receive a firm offer and an interview for another one very quickly. However, both of these were rescinded after they approached my previous employer for a reference. I asked for copies of the references but the employer refused to allow access to them and I had to resort, on the advice of my solicitor, to involve the IMO and eventually the employer was forced to release said references. The reference stated that I had been instantly dismissed but refused to give reasons, in the teaching profession employers have to be ultra cautious (quite rightly) with new staff recruitment and it was obvious that they were putting 2 and 2 together and getting 6. This added to my problems as it meant that I had to try and secure something out of teaching and over the next 15 months I applied for around 300 jobs, the result, I didn't even get an interview. Fortunately my wife was totally supportive for which I will be eternally grateful and it made the situation tolerable. I spent months working with the solicitor to put our case together; it was made more complicated as we were aiming for a 'whistle blowing' reason, the official definition is 'making a protected disclosure in law' and it is notoriously difficult to win a case on this basis. I finally got a court appearance in October, 15 months after the sacking, we spent three days in the hearing and I had to secure the services of a Barrister for these 3 days which cost me over £2000. My employer and former manager tried their utmost to 'besmirch' my character even to the point of fabricating documents. Fortunately, my Barrister was superb and the court ruled in my favour, the relief cannot be described. A further 'remedy' hearing was scheduled for the following December at which they would determine the level of compensation. At this hearing my former employer was ordered to pay me loss of nett earnings from June 2017 to September 2019 by which time they reasoned that I should have been able to secure a job back in teaching. After I had paid solicitors commission and Barristers costs there was not a lot left and you cannot claim costs in these cases.

We lodged an appeal on the grounds that there was no award for smearing my name, wrecking my reputation, stress, hardship etc etc. The appeal has just been rejected as you can only appeal if there has been an error in law, not merely disagreeing with the decision. Whilst it was wonderful to clear my name I am left wondering if justice has been done.
 

Kev86

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I was in a similar situation Dave so I feel for you mate, it took me a long time to get over not clearing my name but eventually I did,so just keep looking forward mate.

Kev
 

Wise Owl

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Dave mate in a world full of backstabbing horrible people I can only wish you good luck and will deffo have a chub sesh with ya come winter ?stay positive pal ya got more mates than ya think ?
 

Dave Spence

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Dave mate in a world full of backstabbing horrible people I can only wish you good luck and will deffo have a chub sesh with ya come winter ?stay positive pal ya got more mates than ya think ?
Cheers mate, I am working again now so things are ok, I've just got to clear the credit cards that we built up during unemployment:(
 

Gwillim

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Really feel for you Dave, the Teaching profession is one of the hardest things to do I feel, often with little support a lack of resources and more often than not working for people who do not understand what the word Integrity means, it is also unfortunately one of the worst professions for innocent people having their name smeared and their character called into question with little or no recourse.

From this I would take some comfort in the fact that although it has cost you monetarily the courts ruled in your favour and so your innocence is proven, also your wife stuck by you because she knows the man you really are and that you were being persecuted, those who really know you I am sure have stayed with you throughout this ordeal and will continue to walk with you as you move forward.

All the best in all your future endeavours (y)
 

Pompous git

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I do not know how teachers do their job, they walk a fine line and chuck in children that are clued up on rights and so forth it must
be a minefield the last thing you need is back stabbing colleagues. It goes without saying all the best mate.
 

Lee Richards

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Sorry to hear what you went through Dave and hindsight is a wonderful thing but there were a few things that you could have done at the start to make their dismissal of you a lot harder than it was.
They clearly had intent to dismiss you so you should have been given the opportunity for representation at your meeting and on dismissal been offered the chance to appeal. (to which there is a defined time period)
Their grounds for dismissal "performance" should have been proven against your previous conduct record and last appraisal,any issues if significant should have been raised and documented at the time - and then addressed.
If they had cause for concern over your performance it is "best practice" to address these before they become a serious issue and could lead to the dismissal of the employee - this was clearly not conducted.

The best course of action before going to a solicitor would have been to have sought advice from Unison,ACAS or one of the online HR advisory organisations and they would have either given you support or put you in touch with a specialist in employment law suited to your situation.

All a bit late now mate,it's s**t but keep your head up (y)
 

2ts

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Much law little justice.You have indeed been rinsed by the machine,and have my sympathy.
I sincerely hope you have a much better future
 

Dave Spence

MD virtual champion 2020. Golden Pie winner 2018.
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Sorry to hear what you went through Dave and hindsight is a wonderful thing but there were a few things that you could have done at the start to make their dismissal of you a lot harder than it was.
They clearly had intent to dismiss you so you should have been given the opportunity for representation at your meeting and on dismissal been offered the chance to appeal. (to which there is a defined time period)
Their grounds for dismissal "performance" should have been proven against your previous conduct record and last appraisal,any issues if significant should have been raised and documented at the time - and then addressed.
If they had cause for concern over your performance it is "best practice" to address these before they become a serious issue and could lead to the dismissal of the employee - this was clearly not conducted.

The best course of action before going to a solicitor would have been to have sought advice from Unison,ACAS or one of the online HR advisory organisations and they would have either given you support or put you in touch with a specialist in employment law suited to your situation.

All a bit late now mate,it's s**t but keep your head up (y)
Thanks mate, everything you quoted is true but they followed none of it. The manager was new, young, inexperienced and unqualified for the job and he was relying on the fact that I had less than 2 years service and would not be able to bring a tribunal. He was unaware that whistleblowing related dismissal was the exception to this rule. The payout that I received (24 months nett salary) would have been fine if it wasn't for the legal fees which are unclaimable. The company in question also had to pay a fine for not following proper procedure.
 

Sportsman

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Dave
So sorry to hear of your problems, I can't begin to imagine how that would feel. We seem to be living in a world where truth, justice and that old fashioned concept honour mean absolutely nothing. A world where you can get thousands in compensation for some trivial accident yet no compensation for someone whose life has been completely screwed for such a long period of time. It is disgraceful.
A world where our leaders lie with impunity and their followers brag about the fact and take delight in it, where the only yardstick is "what do I want and what can I get away with"?
I hope your life gets back to normal and that you can put this episode behind you.
Very best wishes for you and particularly your wife, it can't have been easy.
 
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