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My employer is a local authority, and the team is within the Children and Young People's services.
The letters do not threaten health and safety of employees but are definitely 'hurtful'. They imply that our manager does not care about confidentiality. They appear to want to damage her crediablity with Senior Management - and this seems to be why the management want to keep things 'quiet'.
A very viciously worded letter was sent to several colleagues - which contained confidential information in it. We were then told this had not been the first letter received - and we were assured that the police would now be involved.
They weren't and I subsequently received a letter.
The first letter I received was addressed to me 'as a friend' from 'a friend' and says that my manager has referred to me as being 'mentally deranged' and inappropriate for promotion.
The second letter was sent 5 days after a confidential meeting between my manager and a client - and refers directly to information at that meeting which even I had not been advised of at that time. It also states that my manager had not been supportive of my work in the meeting and had implied I was 'crap' at my job.
I actually feel these breaches of confidentiality may be founded but the way in which they are presented means that the local authority are not interested in investigating them.
I am trying to write a letter now - raising a formal complaint - but want to know what I could have/now expect them to do?
ie what is the legal situation concerning poison pen letters
and what is their duty of care to me as a recipient.
I feel I am a receipent because they did not fully investigate the letters or allegations when they were being directly sent to manager (and at that time did not address individual colleagues)
I've been employed by them for 6 years now....
This manager has been in post for nearly 2 years.
About 7 years ago there was another spate of similar letters which were not investigated - but stopped when the 'top boss' sent a letter stating that police would be involved if it carried on.
We did inform the current management that this letter had been sent - and indeed a colleague gave them a copy of the letter.
Ok your employer does certainly have a duty to treat this matter seriously and investigate and try to find the author. This is a matter of gross misconduct and the responsible employee should be dismissed.
I do not think that this is a criminal matter, the police are likely to say that this is a civil matter to be dealt with by the employer.
You should now raise a grievance to ask your employer:
a) what measures it is taking to investigate the matter and to prevent this from happening in the future?
b) For reasurrance that the comments made in the letter are not reflective of the feelings of management.
You can state that you believe that the employer must positively respond to ensure:
- the health and safety of the employees
- the morale of employees is not unduely affected.
I do hope that this matter does resolve itself. It may be, however that as everyone is a 'suspect' the employer cannot give too much detail of how it is investigating.
I would be grateful if you would press ACCEPT if you have found my answer useful. I will then leave the question open to answer your follow on questions for free.
Ok well all the best I am experienced in advising local authorities on employment law- my answer is not simply common sense.
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