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To Dismiss Or Not


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I would like some advice please. I have a new member of staff who has only been with my for 6 weeks. In the second week she had one day off sick and then asked to go early when she knew we were short staffed. She acted like it was an emergency but on futher investigation I found out it was actually to help her friend clean her new flat. We have had to talk to her a couple of times about inappropriate talk in front of the children (nothing major) and about her chatting to other staff.

 

Last week she didn't turn up for work, no phone call, nothing. Didn't answer calls or texts. She didn't turn up on Monday and didn't phone to say she would be back. This caused us huge problems on Friday as other people were on holiday and another member of staff had an accident so couldn't come in. It was also very difficult to get agency in, although we finally managed it.

 

Today she turned up. She hadn't called yesterday to find out what shift she was on or to notify us of her return.

 

I sent her home and have asked her to attend a disciplinary hearing tomorrow.

 

I am looking at gross misconduct because basically she put the children at risk by not notifying us and so we nearly couldn't get cover. I could have understood Friday if there was a good reason e.g. family problems, but she had the whole week-end to sort it out and contact me and also she could have phoned on Monday at any point of the day to speak to me. In my mind, given her overall performance etc since she started, she doesn't seem to understand the importance of caring for children. It was all explained to her at interview and she knows how we are about absence control.

 

What do you all think?

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I agree a disciplinary hearing is appropriatte as long as she has undergone a full induction to date.

 

That's if she turns up. If she doesn't turn up I would still follow through with a written dismissal, if this is the action you decide upon.

 

Peggy

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I would like some advice please. I have a new member of staff who has only been with my for 6 weeks. In the second week she had one day off sick and then asked to go early when she knew we were short staffed. She acted like it was an emergency but on futher investigation I found out it was actually to help her friend clean her new flat. We have had to talk to her a couple of times about inappropriate talk in front of the children (nothing major) and about her chatting to other staff.

 

Last week she didn't turn up for work, no phone call, nothing. Didn't answer calls or texts. She didn't turn up on Monday and didn't phone to say she would be back. This caused us huge problems on Friday as other people were on holiday and another member of staff had an accident so couldn't come in. It was also very difficult to get agency in, although we finally managed it.

 

Today she turned up. She hadn't called yesterday to find out what shift she was on or to notify us of her return.

 

I sent her home and have asked her to attend a disciplinary hearing tomorrow.

 

I am looking at gross misconduct because basically she put the children at risk by not notifying us and so we nearly couldn't get cover. I could have understood Friday if there was a good reason e.g. family problems, but she had the whole week-end to sort it out and contact me and also she could have phoned on Monday at any point of the day to speak to me. In my mind, given her overall performance etc since she started, she doesn't seem to understand the importance of caring for children. It was all explained to her at interview and she knows how we are about absence control.

 

What do you all think?

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I have had a similar experience and found that things went from bad to worse. she is clearly not the sort of staff member you need in your team and will drag everyone else down to her level if not managed well. Follow the correct proceddures and get shot!

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Hi I agree with all that has been said :o

 

I have experienced this many times in my setting and as Alison says it would normally be within the probationary period. It is highly unlikely that this person will change so to do the best for the children and colleagues get shot of her asap!

 

Just make sure you follow all legal procedures to the letter, acas have got loads of templates for this sort of thing or contact LAWCALL

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Hope the meeting goes to plan - I don't think you should have any doubts about your decision.

 

Her attitude towards attendance is awful and I think "nipping it in the bud" sends a powerful message to everyone on the team. It shows that you do everything in your power to keep within safe ratios for the children and to minimise disruption for the staff and setting.

 

Good Luck!

 

Nona

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I would agree that you should dismiss her - that is what the trial period is for. If she can't be bothered during this time, when most of us would be trying our utmost to appear at our best, then it doesn't bode well for the future! :o

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and now we would like to what happened............

 

I too would listen to her but as it is probationary period and the need for reliable staff who are aware of the pressure it put on everyone else and the setting would feel that this is not really the job for her....

 

better to sort this out now than leave it until later....

 

Inge

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Hi there,

 

if you are using the standard 6 week probation period then you have the right to terminate the contract with one weeks warning - I've done this before and it really works in your favour - you won't need a disciplinary, just issue with a letter explaining things aren't working out - I had a committee member with me to run through it and that made it an easier process to do.

 

Good luck x

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just to update you. She came in and we had a long chat. It turns out she suffers from domestic abuse and a very controlling boyfriend. I agreed to give her one last chance but said that although I was sympathetic to her problems, they couldn't interfere with work.

 

To be fair she has really been very good since then and made a concerted effort to try hard.

 

However, yesterday I had no phone call. I actually went around to her flat as I was worred, but got no answer. To cut a long story short I finally spoke to her and she said she had a fall down the stairs and was really 'out of it', hence why she never called. She did say she would be in today. Last night however she rang to say she was at hospital and wouldn't be in today. She hasn't said it was her partner, but I am drawing my own conclusions - rightly or wrongly.

 

What should I do now - at the end of the day she has once again let me and the rest of the staff down - how sympathetic and understanding should I be. Sorry to sound harsh but I need reliability.

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I sympathise with you because now you know some background it is harder to deal with. Your priority needs to be the setting and, as you say, the reliability you need. I think I would have to tell her that I appreciate her circumstances but my responsibility is to the setting firstly. If she gets herself on a more even keel and would like to reapply for a position I would be happy to discuss that in the future, but at present I need to let her go for the sake of the setting.

 

I'm not saying it is the right approach but it might help her to take some responsibility for her own life and change things - it might not too. However I do feel that if it doesn't then you could end up carrying her for a long time. I don't want to sound harsh in that but I have had experience of a member of staff with personal issues which impinged on the setting and helping her out constantly did us and her no favours. She came to rely on the setting bailing her out, and started to take the proverbial really. It wasn't domestic abuse but at the end of the day you have told her that her personal life needs to stay at home. If it can't be done she can't be relied on and could bring greater risk to the children in your care through her actions or inaction. Good luck!

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Ummm... tough one!

 

I agree with Holly, as an employer i am sympathetic to an employees needs, however, the business (and children/staff) must not be affected by a personal situation.

 

It is very difficult as you now have an insight into her personal life, which makes these sort of decisions very hard to make, but, it is clear that she is unable to commit to a job at the moment.

 

I too would explain that you cannot continue employing her under the current circumstances and she would be free to apply at a later date.

 

Please do not forget your timings, time flys and before you know it she will be out of the probationary period, have you called LAWCALL?

 

Reading this back i am aware at how harsh this sounds, i am a sympathetic person who would offer endless support to anyone i knew suffering this situation, however, as an employer you do have to take a step back and consider all aspects of your business.

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