I met with the lawyers yesterday from my union. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, and they put the respondents case to me. That was pretty difficult. I recognise they have to test the evidence, but it was hard going. Right before the meeting, ACAS called to ask whether I would be interested in any form of settlement at this stage. I called them back after the meeting and said I wanted to return to work, and that with the adjustments in the latest occupational health report in place I thought I would be able to.
I think settling now would do a few things. It would give me time and space to recover my mental health. It would allow me to explore other career options – though I may have to leave acadcemia. It would give me some financial freedom.
The thing is, the pendulum on whether or not to settle the case swings one way and then the other. I start out thinking that I don’t want to settle, and then something happens and I do. I don’t want to give any more of my life to this case, this employer, this dispute. But then I don’t want to be part of this huge problem of people with discrimination cases settling them with binding gagging clauses so nothing really changes.
So, eventually, I sat down with the COT3 agreement and looked at the terms that I didn’t want to sign up to. I revised parts of it and deleted others. I sent that back to them with a higher financial settlement offer. They keep dragging it out – so I put a time limit on it of end of play tomorrow. I can’t see them agreeing to the changes I have asked for, and I can’t see them agreeing to the higher figure. I guess it is a case of ‘watch this space’.