Bullying and Harassment of Staff at School
The Teach Well Alliance and the Every Teacher Matters Project run an anti-bullying private Facebook group.
We also offer a wellbeing coaching and legal service called TABS: Teachers Against Bullying of Staff
Every Teacher Matters Project
Teach Well Alliance
Would you also like to apply for coaching and legal representation on a
'No win, No fee' basis?
Click on the button below to complete our registration form
The TABS Anti-Bullying Support Programme consists of Wellbeing Coaching to support you during the legal process and...
..legal representation from Atkinson Rose LLP, Expert Employment Law Solicitors.
Amit and his team of employment law experts will assess your case from the application form we ask you to submit to see if there is a good chance of winning your case. Atkinson Rose will contact you to find out more details about your case. They will tell you if you have a strong case. There is no charge for this assessment.
If you do have a good chance of winning your case, a legal representative from Atkinson Rose will contact you. You will not pay any fees unless your case is successful in gaining a financial settlement. If it does, you will pay a maximum of 35% to cover your coaching and legal fees. The fees will be deducted from your settlement and will not be due until the financial settlement is received by Atkinson Rose.
If your case does not have a good chance of resulting in a financial settlement and you would like coaching and/or legal representation, you can still pay for either or both on a fixed fee basis.
Find out more about our partners Atkinson Rose at https://www.atkinson-rose.co.uk
Atkinson Rose LLP: Testimonials
Nursery worker subjected to racial discrimination
RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION AND RETALIATORY DISMISSAL FOLLOWING A RESIGNATION
Our client was a Muslim female working for a Nursery in South East England and was subjected to various discriminatory comments and actions directed towards her religion.
She eventually resigned after finding a new role but was then dismissed during her notice period as an act of retaliation. A dismissal for gross misconduct in this field would have precluded her from being able to work with children again in the future.
We brought claims for discrimination, along with both constructive and unfair dismissal and our client obtained a sum of money (despite suffering minimal losses having walked into a new job) and a reference for future employers which did not make any mention of the dismissal. Her comments are below:
"The advice I received from Mr Patel and his team was very professional from beginning to end. Mr Patel was efficient and offered me quality advice at each step of the process. I never had to keep chasing him as he kept me updated by email or phone."
Teacher made redundant on grounds of qualifications
UNFAIR DISMISSAL - REDUNDANCY, VICTORY AT TRIBUNAL AND REPORTED CASE
Our client was employed as a teacher and made redundant purportedly on the basis of her qualifications. She initially bought the claim herself and acted in person as she could not find a firm to assist. We took the case over, reformulated it, and won at the final hearing. We believed that many of the representations made were false. The trial judge shared our view, allowed our extra evidence to be admitted, and the case has been reported on the employment tribunal website.
“When Amit stepped in and agreed to represent me at the Employment Tribunal I was ill, depressed, and had lost both my self-esteem and confidence as a result of the treatment I was subjected to by my ex-employer. Amit brought my case to an absolute victory on both financial and moral grounds...He approached my matters with understanding and sensitivity to my situation...Winning this case has given me a new lease of professional life, imbued with a wonderful feeling of justice being served. My voice has been heard. I feel very grateful to Amit and his team"
Teacher in independent school: Grievance
RACE AND RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION WHILST IN EMPLOYMENT
Our client worked for an independent school in Surrey and raised grievances against other employees due to bullying and comments made in relation to his race and religion. His employers failed to properly investigate the complaints and rejected these grievances.
Our client did not wish to resign in order to bring a claim due to the uncertainty of finding a new job in the current economic climate so we therefore bought a claim whilst he remained in employment and advised on the best way of submitting new grievances.
The matter eventually settled for a sum amounting to slightly under a year's salary without the need for a final tribunal hearing.
"I had a lot of support and guidance from the firm which was essential to winning my employment case. It made me feel more confident knowing that I was not alone but had people backing me up which made me more determined to fight my ground."
Scroll down to find out how TABS works
Click on the button below to complete our TABS application form
Please note that, if you are a member of a teaching union, you may be able to get support and legal representation as part of your membership.
If you have already had support and legal representation through your teaching union and wish to transfer your case to TABS, we would be pleased to review your case and advise you whether it has a good chance of resulting in a financial settlement.
If it does, coaching and legal representation will commence from the point at which you make the transfer.
If your case does not have a good chance of resulting in a financial settlement and you would like coaching and/or legal representation,
you will be offered either or both on a fixed fee basis.
How TABS works
Are your wellbeing and mental health being damaged by being bullied at school?
Would you like to apply for coaching and legal representation from TABS on a 'No win, No fee' basis?
Click on the green button below to complete our application form.
You will then be contacted by Atkinson Rose solicitors who will assess your case without charge.
They will advise you whether your case has a good chance of resulting in a financial settlement.
If it does, and you wish to proceed, you will also be contacted by a wellbeing coach
who will support you through the process.
Legal representation and coaching will be provided on a no-win,
no-fee basis at 35% of the financial settlement.
What is Bullying?
'Offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that
undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.' (ACAS, June 2014)
Documents that are referenced are available via links at the foot of the page
Are you being bullied or harassed?
If you answer 'Yes' to any of these questions and the behaviour is happening regularly, you are being bullied or harassed:
What is the difference between bullying and harassment?
There is no single law against workplace Bullying.
But you can still take action
Harassment is defined by the Equality Act (2010) as:
'Unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose
or effect of violating an individual's dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading,
humiliating or offensive environment for that individual'.
Where the bullying/harassment relates to a protected characteristic (as seen in the diagram opposite), it may amount to unlawful discrimination or harassment. There may be grounds to bring a claim against the bully and the employer under the Equality Act 2010 at an Employment Tribunal. There is no limit on the amount of compensation.
Is the Health and Safety at Work Act relevant?
The employer's Duty of Care
Under the Health and Safety Act (1974) employers have a legal 'duty of care' to provide a safe system of work for employees and to take reasonable steps to prevent staff from being injured at work.
Injury can include physical or mental ill-health, including depression or anxiety, resulting from harassment or bullying at school.
Would you like to apply for coaching and legal representation on a 'No win, No fee' basis?
Click on the button below to complete our registration form.
What does Ofsted say?
The Ofsted Inspection Handbook (2019) includes criteria in Leadership and Management relating to workload, wellbeing, and protecting staff from bullying and harassment.
This is the first time that these issues have been included in the School Inspection Framework
We have reproduced sections from the Ofsted School Inspection Handbook below
You can download your own copy by clicking on the image
School Inspection Handbook (Sept 2019)
Leadership and management: (Section 229: Page 64)
'Important factors include:
◼ the extent to which leaders take into account the workload and well-being of their staff, while also developing and strengthening the quality of the workforce.'
'In order for the leadership and management of a school to be judged outstanding, it must meet all of the good criteria securely and consistently, and it must also meet the additional outstanding criteria (Section 278: Pages 74-75)
◼ The school meets all the criteria for good in leadership and management securely and consistently.
◼ Leadership and management are exceptional.
In addition, the following apply:
◼ Leaders ensure that highly effective and meaningful engagement takes place with staff at all levels and that issues are identified. When issues are identified, in particular about workload, they are consistently dealt with appropriately and quickly.
◼ Staff consistently report high levels of support for well-being issues.
◼ Leaders engage with their staff and are aware and take account of the main pressures on them. They are realistic and constructive in the way they manage staff, including their workload.
◼ Leaders protect staff from bullying and harassment.
Click on the button below to complete the TABS registration form.
What are the physical and mental effects of bullying and harassment?
If you are suffering physically or mentally, others may say
you are weak and that teaching is not for you.
Or that you are imagining things. You might begin to believe them.
This is known as 'gaslighting' *
It is normal to blame yourself when you are being bullied or harassed.
That's what the bully wants you to do, as it shifts responsibility from them to you.
The physical and mental effects of bullying and harassment are real and serious.
They are caused by the way the bully is behaving towards you,
not because of your actions.
* Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. The term comes from a 1944 film 'Gaslight' in which a husband tries to drive his wife into madness by creating noises, sounds and moving objects etc and telling her she is imagining things when she describes what is happening.
Physical effects of bullying and harassment
Mental effects of bullying and harassment
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
The mental impact of bullying or harassment can last for a long time.
PTSD results from prolonged exposure to a traumatic event.
This can include flashbacks to the bullying or harassment incidents and a loss of self-confidence.
You can also feel anxious and afraid of people or situations that remind you of how you were treated.
It is important to get professional help, such as Counselling, if the symptoms continue.
We can also provide Counselling as part of your 'no-win, no-fee' package of care and legal representation.
Click on the button below to complete our TABS registration form.
Taking action against bullying and harassment
You do have choices
You have three choices if you are being bullied or harassed:
How do I know whether taking action is right for me? It seems a big step to take.
If your answer is 'Yes' to any of these questions, you should consider completing our application form to find out if your case has a good chance of resulting in a financial settlement.
Use the Waters Index of Burnout to assess your level of physical and mental exhaustion.
Click on the image to download a PDF.
Complete our application form. Atkinson Rose will contact you to assess whether your case has a reasonable chance of success.
If it does, Wellbeing Coaching and legal representation will be provided on a 'No-Win, No-Fee' basis.
You will only be charged a fee after the financial settlement has been received. Atkinson Rose will inform you of the fee during your assessment.
If it doesn't have a reasonable chance of success, Atkinson Rose will tell you.
There is no charge for Atkinson Rose to assess your case.
What is Constructive Dismissal?
Ordinary unfair constructive dismissal
Where there is a fundamental breach of an employment contract, the employee may claim ordinary unfair constructive dismissal in an Employment Tribunal.
The bullying and/or the employer’s handling of it may breach the implied term of mutual trust and confidence between the employee and the employer, making the employee’s position untenable and leaving them with no choice but to resign.
For this type of claim, employees will need at least two years’ continuous employment and compensation is capped at one year’s pay. This is up to a maximum currently of £88,519 or 52 weeks gross salary whichever is the lower.
This is in addition to the basic award which can be ordered by the Tribunal of up to a maximum of £16,140. (Please note that these are the figures from 6 April 2020 and are reviewed annually).
A Civil Courts Claim
(Outside of employment jurisdiction)
Protection from harassment
In extreme cases an employee may consider bringing a claim under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 in the civil courts. This requires evidence that the bullying was part of a course of conduct (i.e. at least two or more incidents), amounted to harassment under the Act, was oppressive, unacceptable and caused the employee alarm or distress.
In practice, such claims are rarely brought in respect of workplace bullying because of the high hurdle of showing that the harassment amounted to criminal liability.
Finally, where the bullying leads to an employee developing a psychiatric injury, they might bring a claim against their employer for personal injury in the civil courts (separate to an Employment Tribunal). To succeed, the employee needs to show: a breach of the duty of care by the employer; that the breach caused the employee psychiatric injury; and it was reasonably foreseeable.
In practice, it is difficult to bring such claims in respect of workplace bullying.
Taking action: Getting legal advice
The Teach Well Alliance has an exclusive agreement with Atkinson Rose
solicitors - experts in employment law.
They will review your case.
They will decide whether it is sufficiently strong to be likely to
result in a financial settlement.
If it is, you will receive legal representation and coaching to
support you through the process on a no-win, no-fee basis.
You will only pay a fee if the case is successful
and you are awarded financial compensation.
Documents relating to Being Treated Badly at Work
Health and Safety at Work Act (1974)
Ofsted School Inspection Handbook (2019)
[What to do] If you're treated unfairly at work
Bullying and harassment at work (ACAS 2014)
A guide for managers and employers
Your health, your safety (TUC/HSE 2013)
A brief guide for workers
Harassment and Bullying in Schools: Guidance for Reps and Local Officers (NEU 2018)
Teachers: How to Deal with Unfair Treatment
(Teach Well Alliance 2019)
Would you like to apply for coaching and legal representation
on a 'No win, No fee' basis?
You will be contacted by Atkinson Rose, a firm of legal experts in employment law.
If they assess that there is a good chance of you receiving a financial settlement and you wish to proceed, you will do so on a 'No Win, No Fee' basis.
This page might also be helpful:
'Handling Difficult Conversations:
The Waters Memo Strategy Meeting (WMSM)'
Go to www.teachwellalliance.com/school-staff-support/#1
The only charity dedicated to helping teachers
If you need to talk to someone about bullying or harassment,
or any aspect of your job in school that is making you unhappy.
24 hours, 365 days a year
Freephone 08000 562 561
Teach Well Alliance Ltd © 2020