Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Appeal Aftermath

After some general advice and information, it’s time once more to pick up my story. I had been waiting for the official notification of my appeal.  Within ten days of the appeal being held, I should have received the written decision.  Everyday I waited for the mail to be delivered.  Nothing arrived.  There is a maxim that says ‘no news is good news.’  It didn’t apply in this instance.  Realistically, I wasn’t expecting a reversal of the judgment that had resulted in my dismissal.  Idealistically I had hoped for some understanding into the stigma of being a male victim of Domestic Violence and the impact it had on my mental health particularly as I was working within the Mental health care field. 

I used this time to reflect on my brief career in social care.  The majority of workers in this industry are female with very few male members of staff in any care organisation.  I was initially told that I would be in constant demand for work as good male workers were a rare commodity and greatly needed.  This proved to be my experience and I received praise for the way in which I worked.  I found that my co-workers were all fully committed and worked hard and efficiently to ensure that the best possible service was offered to clients.     However, management were often more cynical towards clients and workers.  With hindsight, I feel that some of my interactions with my managers (who all happened to be female) may have also coloured their judgement. 

I had only been in the job for seven weeks when a vacancy within the organisation was advertised.  This post was at a higher grade, located in the town where I lived rather than fifty miles from home, more conventional working hours and I had the qualifications required.  I informed my line manager that I would be applying, not because I was unhappy with my current role, but because it was an opportunity too good to miss.  My line manager responded that she would do the same if she was in my position.  However, the funding for this post hadn’t been properly secure and recruitment was postponed.  The job I had involved a huge amount of travelling and mileage expenses could be claimed back from the organisation.  I had submitted my expenses for authorisation and was rather upset to discover three weeks later that my line manager hadn’t yet dealt with them.  I spoke privately to my line manager and received a poor excuse as to why they hadn’t been submitted. Having been in management myself, I recognised managerial claptrap and would have preferred the truth.  It transpired that all team members had outstanding expense claims that were awaiting reimbursement.  Christmas was approaching and all staff were unhappy as the delay was affecting Christmas budgeting.  I subsequently raised this issue at the next team meeting where I was supported by my shift colleague.  The service lead responded that it was up to her when she submitted the claims, with no acknowledgement that the problem had arose because she’d forgotten about them in the first place.

The service I worked with was an ‘out of hours’ service that overlapped some regular ‘nine to five’ services within the organisation.  Without going into great detail, I discovered that the organisation had been paying the telephone bill of a Client for over eighteen months.  When I came across this, I spoke to the line manager of the department responsible who was adamant that the transfer of responsibility for the telephone line over to the client had taken place correctly.  I went away and collected the necessary information, returning to the manager who then looked at it with her line manager and realised that I was right. 

Prior to my probation review which led to my release, two supervision sessions had been held between my line manager and myself.   Following these sessions, company policy was that we both sign a copy of the supervision notes and that I was given a copy.  The first time I saw these was at my probation review when I was presented with both sets to sign.  I never received a copy of these documents.

A month after the appeal, I still hadn’t received notice of the appeal’s decision.   I wrote to the CEO of the organisation explaining the situation and that I was still waiting for the result.  He responded immediately to say that he had asked the regional headquarters to investigate.  Another month passed without any word so once more I contacted the CEO.  It transpired that the wrong regional office had been asked to investigate.  The CEO apologised for the bad working practise of the organisation and also said that I would receive a personal apology and explanation from the regional manager.  The regional manager’s letter contained an apology stating that although the letter had been written immediately following the appeal, due to an administration error it wasn’t mailed out to me.  The original letter was also included and stated that attached to it were the minutes of the appeal.  The minutes were not included.  I contacted the regional manager once more to say that I still hadn’t received my copy of the supervision interviews and that the minutes of the appeal hadn’t been included despite it being stated that they were.  I finally received all documentation a week later.  This now meant closure for me, I could move on from the feelings I had felt about the poor handling of my situation by this organisation.

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