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Staff Disciplinary


marley
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Hi all

Just need advice really...manager of school club (I am chair) had been told that we received complaints from caretaker for windows not being closed when club were the last to leave the school.

 

Today just found out that Head is fuming as last wed night he came back to school, to find door not locked (ok it is key coded) and alarm not on! It seems that club were the last to use and I have unofficially been told that manager did not do checks around school but thought that the caretaker was there to lock up (he wasnt!).

 

Tomorrow I am hoping to see the head for clarification and apologise to him and say that the committee will go down disciplinary procedures given that she has already been warned of lack of school security.

 

This will be her first "offence" so to speak but I think it is a serious one. Procedures say that we firstly do verbal warning. Do you agree this is the way to go, do you think I am being to harsh? I just feel that she is very blase and doesnt realise the importance that she has keys to the school.

 

Thanks

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Hi Marley

 

I think you need to have a proper meeting with the manager to show that this is potentially a serious matter, write down exactly what happened on both accounts, obtain written reports by other witnesses, before deciding what action to take. Get the facts first before talking about warnings. Let the manager know that you will inform her what action you will be taking once you've looked into the matter. Look at the guidance on the ACAS website for disciplinary procedures too and follow it should you decide to go down the disciplinary route.

 

Good luck.

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Thanks Deb

 

Will speak to deputy and get her to write it all down. Does this class as a complaint????

 

I shall follow our grievance procedure (in policy) but not sure what constitutes a serious enough matter to go straigh to written warning?

Edited by marley
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To be honest making a racist remark could be serious enough for me. Obviously this will be determined by context although I'm not excusing it by saying that. However as role model for the childrenthe manager ought not to make such a remark at all in my opinion. It would also be a breach of our policies. Additionally if she has already been warned or spoken to about the security issue I feel it would be time to step things up. Personally I would have been extra careful about that after being pulled up about it. But this is just my gut instinct so check with ACAS.

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Have just spoken to deputy about it and asked her if she wants me to take it further, that she will have to write a report, that we will keep it confidential but that manager will be aware that it has come from her or 2 other staff who were also present. She is undecided (reassured her that we would not stand for repercussions) what to do and i have asked her to let me know tomorrow as i need to act quickly (as well as see head about security issue last week!!).

 

As for what she said..apparently it was about the looks of children, very shocking and was said as staff were chatting getting ready for the session.

 

If deputy does report it then will have to call committee meeting to discuss as a committee what we do from there be it verbal or written warning.

 

It all kicks off doesnt it!

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Hi Marley

 

I think it is very easy to let our emotions get the better of us at times like this. At the moment you understandably sound shocked and worried which I can empathise with. But take a deep breath. Get the facts. There is a chance (maybe I'm being too generous here but I don't have the facts), once the manager has the racist remark mentioned to her she might say, oh my goodness I didn't mean that. Get the facts to make an informed, measured and prompt decision.

 

I feel that your deputy has already reported the matter of the alleged racist remark to you, all you need from her is a factual statement.

 

Read the ACAS guidance too.

 

Take care, let us know how you get on.

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The security issue I think is serious as it may invalidate insurance, it is a recurring problem and the head of school needs concrete reassurance of what steps will be made to ensure security is not compromised in the future.

If the deputy appears blase about things (a subjective judgement not easily evidenced as fact), I would suggest that when the issue is addressed with her (either as verbal or written warning) from this you should require that she states what specifically she will do in future to ensure the lapse of security is not repeated, in other words, a measurable requirement on which she will take responsibility for, with clear statement of consequences if security is breached again.

 

I am curious as to why the email regarding the alleged (until proven as fact) racist comment was not sent to you until a week after the event. I think racist comments are very serious, but to address it appropriately you need to understand the context and/or intent at the time of the comment. Malice may not have been intended, however a racist 'joke' is still unacceptable and should be challenged. If however the comment was said in malice, was directed at a particular individual then it would need to be dealt with differently than to the first scenario.

 

Evidence and fact is the key to enable the decision on how to proceed. If you are sure that a racist comment has been made I don't think that you should leave it, if even if the person reporting it to you doesn't want to write out a 'statement', you have her email with the allegation on it therefore it should be dealt with and not ignored.

 

When I had my preschool, within my terms of employment there were requirements regarding racism & prejudice, including that ALL staff were expected to challenge ANY racist comments from children, staff, parents, or others. Maybe this subject could be discussed at your next staff meeting, consider some made up case studies to enable the staff to discuss how they would deal with a racist comment or behaviour from, for example, a parent. All the staff present at the time of this alleged comment have a role to play in challenging such behaviour at the time of the event, not a week later via email.

 

At my preschool we agreed ground rules with all staff on such a matter, ie: if anything like this occurs, to be able to say to any work colleague something on the lines of.....What you just said ( or did) I found offensive / racist / inappropriate and I am concerned that such comment (action) contravenes our ................policy. A statement like this is useful to have as an agreed method of dealing with any comments/behaviours, in a constructive manner, backed up by policy (behaviour, Equal Opps, Anti-Discrimination, etc) for the 'offender' to refer to.

The staff all agreed to accept such a challenge from each other, and that it would be said in the context of enabling personal development rather than as a personal attack of character. We agreed the time and place when it would be appropriatte to challenge another member of staff on such issues, ie: not in front of parents etc. Timing should be asap.

 

I used to also have a question on this subject during interviews, ie: What would you do if a parent made a racist or other prejudicial comment?

 

Sorry no definite answer to your question but maybe some policy / procedure review would be useful, plus discussion with all staff about such issues.

 

Peggy

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Thanks penny and everyone some wise words there. Had a sleepless night!

 

The email did not come from deputy. It came from old chair (who is still committee) as deputy told her. We do have a racial harrassment policy which states that if it is staff then its investigation, disciplinary procedures. Deb, I would like the deputy to write it down so my idea is that I can have a chat to manager and say that i have received a complaint, is there anything she wishes to say before I investigate further. I spoke to deputy who says thaat there were 2 others there so i do have the option of talking to them. The deputy has said that one staff member said to her later that she was shocked at what manager said. Think the deputy has been stewing on what to do.

 

As for security issue we have a closing check sheet which I am sure includes checking windows are closed, school, etc so will check that out too for the wed.

Its like having my own instant committee on this forum with all you expressing views which is excellent and very handy!

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Hi Marley

 

I hate those sleepless nights!

 

I understand the staffs' reluctance to make waves, but the important thing is that their conscience/sense of right and wrong have prevailed. I think you need to reassure them that they've done the right thing for your setting, children, and adhering to your policies, do you have a whistle blowing policy? We are only human, I often kick myself for not dealing with a situation straight away but when I've had time to stop and think I will deal with it. I hope I will get better at this!

 

Let us know how you get on.

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Went into see Head . Anyway explained that I had heard that school was left unlocked. He said he had no idea who had left it unlocked. So agreed that I would speak to staff about closing up procedures. I had been told (by the school cook) that he had been very annoyed! Will go in and have strong but quiet word with manager (after getting her side of the story).

 

As for racial comment. Not heard back from Deputy. If she decides not to take it any further I will complete an incident form detailing what I can as a record and keep confidentially with all the chairs records.

 

Might just ask if manager could cover whistleblowing and racial harrassment at the next staff meeting!!!????

 

Now just off to look up all about pregnancy, maternity pay etc etc...when will it end?

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I'm not entirely sure about this, but now you know about the racist incident I think you might have to do something more about it even if the deputy doesn't want you to. I know children making racist remarks has to be reported to county in my area, so I'm pretty sure this would be the same if staff made one. IT might be worth looking into this a bit more.

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Hi

All I could find was a form to complete online about racial incidents that goes to the county council. However it asks for lots of detail and for details of the person it was done to to ie my deputy. I feel that i could not do this without her permission.

 

I have made a note of it all and if further incidents happen then I have that to refer back to. She is so young and I just think needs to be told to keep her opinions to herself sometimes.

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Guest Spiral

Is there any chance that you could have a discreet word about her not sharing opinions? I know that as a manager I find this nerve wracking, but it has to be done as you'll end up with way too much trouble if she continues,

 

Spiral x

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