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Bad reference for deputy


emasi8624
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Hi there,

 

Looking for some advice....

 

I have been looking for a deputy manager as my previous deputy wanted to step down as didn't want to work additional hours when I go on maternity and was worried about the responsibility. I own the nursery and we have been open 18 months, we have 20 children at any one time between 2-4 years. We are a close team and the majority of my staff I have worked with before.

 

I interviewed a male practitioner a month ago and he was fantastic in interview and his CV was glowing. I really felt that he was the one. I offered him the post but he told me that he had been offered a job for more money and to start as soon as his notice period runs out. After careful consideration and discussions with staff, I decided to offer him more money and take him on once his notice was up. He gave 3 referees, 2 of which came back great (from his evening and weekend jobs working with children). He started last week and signed his contract.

Late last week his reference came through from his previous nursery and it was pretty bad. Included things like constant lateness, sometimes up to 2 hours, 13 days off sick on 6 occasions throughout the year, unable to manage time effectively, attitude has been addressed continually via supervision as feels he needs to challenge the manager on everything and feels he is 'above' certain tasks or talking to lower qualified staff and students. They also stated that they would not re-employ as a nursery assistant, therefore the idea of him going in as a manager is concerning to them. He had also told them he no longer wanted to work in childcare.

 

I have since spoken to the referee and she has gone into further detail, saying they have struggled with him for 3 years and were actually in the process of going down a disciplinary route to sack him, this is why he left. However, the employee told me that he was being made redundant as the nursery was going into liquidation - this is far from the truth according to them and in fact they are expanding and busier than ever.

 

I have been off work for 3 days as I have been moving house. During this time he has upset a few parents, apparently been discussing a child's behaviour with social care who he has only known for 1 day when they phoned to talk to me, and telling the staff how he is going to change everything and how he will be working in the office once I leave on maternity (I told him at interview this was not an office job, he would be in the room with the children and managing the day to day running of the nursery, he would have a few hours a week to do any printing or admin, but I would take care of the majority). Basically I think he has taken this job because he thinks he will be in a position of power and not have to work with the children. Staff have made similar comments to me regarding this as well, saying he is very focussed on busying himself so he is not with the children and delegating all the things he does not want to do. I feel he is maybe one of those people who can talk the talk but in practice it is far from reality. He has even started speaking to me like he is above me and calling me whilst I have been off demanding things.

 

Anyway, after this long story, I am not left in a position where I feel he is not right for my business and I would not feel comfortable knowing he is running my setting whilst I am on maternity. He is on a 3 month probation period, so basically I want to know if I am within my rights to tell him to leave so soon? I am on a short timescale as I leave for maternity mid jan, so I want to be able to find and train someone asap. I know his previous setting should not give a bad reference legally, but with the nature of our business I am grateful she did, as she felt the quality of childcare would be hugely affected. However, I don't want to land her in trouble for telling me, yet I have no firm grounds to dismiss him without the reference and what she has said to back it up.

 

Hope all this makes sense, sorry its so long winded.

 

What would you do in my situation? Any advice would be appreciated.

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I would want 'rid' asap and clearly you do too.......

What does his contract actually say? I understand the three months probation - but do you have anything written about notice period whilst he is on probation?

Edit to say are you PSLA members - if so contact Lawcall

Edited by sunnyday
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ask him to leave, or you will cease his employment as he lied to you about his reasons for leaving his previous employer. You could ring ACAS for advice, or Lawcall ( 24 hours) if you are a member of the PSLA. Turf him out, he doesn't sound like someone I'd want in my setting........and learn a valuable lesson. NEVER ffer employment, or a contract until you have checked all references........your children and your staff deserve better

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Basically you can do what you like to an employee who has been with you for less than 2 years...they will have very little comeback...in fact none at all if in the first year. I would give him a weeks notice and say that due to unsatisfactory references you can no longer employ him. (do ring your lawcall type organisation if you have one) ...really say go now and pay for the time he has done and the notice week then that's it!

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surely as he lied about reason for leaving previous employment you could ask him to leave. Also the call to social care concerns me, I know we should never be afraid to get it wrong but that is a little excessive. Essentially it could turn into a safeguarding issue so maybe you could ask him to leave under that as many of those issues would be instant dismissal any way.

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Phone acas I cannot say how helpful they are, I'm going through a right time with one staff member and the things I'm having to do to stay within employment law is horrendous. You should be able to get shot quick though!

I took over from someone who sounds just like him all the power and status went to their head as you say talk the talk but the love of the children comes second to the power status.

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Hello, I think you know what the right thing to do is. Good luck and I hope you manage to find the right deputy and you may even decide to share some responsibilities between your current team.

I feel the probation period is in place to ensure notice can be given by either employer or employee if the job doesn't suit either party.

Most contracts do state something about references being followed up which may affect the validity of the contract.

We recently welcomed a volunteer who was completing their childcare course. After her initial interview she was invited into the session so I could observe her in action. It was really useful and I was able to ask her directly if she felt our setting would suit her.

Good luck

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I am assuming you gave a conditional offer subject to satisfactory references, yes? It is not illegal to give a bad reference unless I have missed something? Hope you find an ideal candidate before mat leave! Not what you want to be dealing with when you have a bubba on the way! xx

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As someone who had to sack somebody on the spot yesterday (with lots of support and advice from you guys, thanks again!) I feel your pain. But lying at an interview is not acceptable and I would use this, and the poor reference as grounds to get rid of him straight away. If I can do it, anyone can. Good luck!

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Hello best to make it amicable as soon as possible, white lies if possible that you are not in a position to offer him the salary he wants affect speaking to your accountant, tell him to go on the spot no notice period, if not he will bad mouth you to parents and worst of all he might call OFSTED, and you dont want that close to your pregnancy. Goodluck

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Thank you for all your comments, advice and encouragement. His contract states that he will be given 1 week notice should either party wish to terminate during the probation period. I am going to speak with him tomorrow morning (he's not in today) and explain my reasons for letting him go and ask him to leave. I will pay him the weeks notice but do not want him to work the week as I have a feeling he will try to cause as many problems as possible during this time.

 

Yes I am also thinking that the other job offer was also a lie. Such a disappointment but at least I found out straight away, rather then having the baby and getting complaints from nursery left, right and centre. I have spoken some of the staff about my decision, one of which was my previous deputy and the other one is very good, they have said that if I cannot find anyone that they will both step up and job share the deputy role, which takes off a bit of pressure.

 

Wish me luck for tomorrow!! This is the first time I have had to deal with dismissing someone and I will be relieved when its over as its all I can think about.

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It might not be a very professional way to do things, but I'd phone him today and just do it..........you don't want any fuss, or bad reaction in front of children/parents/staff. Pay his wages by bank transfer if you can, today, and post his P45.................job done. Good luck x

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It might not be a very professional way to do things, but I'd phone him today and just do it..........you don't want any fuss, or bad reaction in front of children/parents/staff. Pay his wages by bank transfer if you can, today, and post his P45.................job done. Good luck x

I'll second that - he doesn't actually deserve any better. Sending some positive vibes to you! :1b

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I have had a similar situation. I employed an EYP who shone in the interview. She had a folder full of certificates - everything under the sun. I employed her in good faith even though her previous employer refused to give her a reference. She stayed for a year during which she infuriated everyone in the setting before moving on to be deputy at a local preschool. I provided a fair but very honest reference. She lasted 6 months before being dismissed. This experience taught me a lesson. I get all references prior to offering a job now!

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