The Managing Unsatisfactory Performance (MUP) process can be used to drive Queensland teachers into ill health and out of work.
Queensland teachers - or deputy-principals - may be threatened with the MUP process just before the school holidays.
A principal who has shown no interest in the teacher's work all term can simply claim to "have concerns" about the teacher and advise the teacher that they will be putting them on MUP when they return to school.
Why do principals do this?
It is safe.
If the teacher draws attention to a behaviour management problem, it is safer for the principal to attack the teacher than to try to deal with the poorly behaved child and run the risk of provoking the child's (possibly violent and irrational) parents.
Teachers can't complain.
Parents can complain to the department, the media, etc.
It is easy.
If the principal threatens the teacher with the MUP process just before the school holidays, there is a good chance that the teacher (isolated during the holidays) will apply for sick leave, a transfer, resign or suicide.
All of which will save the principal the bother of reading the MUP policy and completing the necessary paperwork.
It is a way of getting rid of teachers who are "uppity".
Principals sometimes become nervous if a teacher is too well qualified.
If a teacher knows more about computers than the principal, the principal may put the teacher on MUP.
And ban the teacher from using his computer during school hours.
And report the teacher to the Ethical Conduct department - to cause the teacher stress.
It blocks the teacher from making a WorkCover complaint about the principal's behaviour.
If the principal knows that they have done something that has driven a teacher into ill health (for example, if they have maliciously spread untruthful gossip about a teacher) the principal may become worried that the teacher will make a WorkCover complaint about their behaviour.
So, to block the possiblity of the teacher making a WorkCover complaint, the principal will very quicky put the teacher on MUP for some trumped-up reason.
Then the teacher's WorkCover complaint will be dismissed because WorkCover will find that it was the principal's "reasonable management action" that caused the teacher to become ill.
Jeff Backen, Assistant Secretary, QTU, has written a guide for principals -
What comes before a MUP process?
This guide advises principals how to use the MUP process effectively.
It is a good article.
But it should have been paired with an article for classroom teachers, advising them how to protect themselves against abuse of the MUP.
Because the QTU should support both principals and classroom teachers.
What points does Jeff Backen make that would be useful to classroom teachers?
The principal must make any concerns clear to the teacher.
So, if your principal says "I have concerns about ..." ask the principal to explain to you those concerns in detail, in writing and to provide you with the documentary evidence to support his / her concerns.
Then give the principal your evidence, in writing, of what you have done to address those concerns.
Sign and date this document.
Look out for -
* The principal who will not give you his concerns / a complaint in writing.
Do not respond to any verbal allegations made by your principal - the principal is probably just be testing out various allegations to try to find one that will "run".
If you are able to respond to these verbal allegations, they will be dropped and different allegations will be created.
Ask for a signed and dated copy of any verbal allegations.
* The " Mrs Go-Between" principal who claims that somebody else has made a complaint / disclosure to her concerning you.
* The principal who claims that they cannot explain their concerns because they are "confidential".
Both of these may be signs that your principal is bluffing.
There has been no complaint.
You are being workplace-bullied.
What comes before a MUP process? , Jeff Backen, Assistant Secretary, Queensland Teachers Union, P.17, Queensland Teachers Journal, Volume 120 number 1, 6 February 2015
The Managing Unsatisactory Performance process (MUP) used to be called the DWP (Diminished Workplace Performance Process).