Leading Black Country law firm George Green LLP warn employers that more and more employees are using recordings of conversations and meetings, made on mobile phones as evidence in potential claims they might bring.
Helen Dyke, a solicitor in the employment team says “Employment Tribunals have a wide discretion when deciding what evidence to consider. In the case of Chairman and Governors of Amwell View School v Dogherty, an employee of a school secretly recorded the disciplinary hearing and also the governors’ private deliberations about what their decision should be. The employee wanted to use the recording as evidence in her unfair dismissal claim.
The court permitted the recording to be used in evidence, but restricted this to the part of the hearing between the employee and the governors.”
According to Miss Dyke, whilst the covert recording of private deliberations was not admitted in the Amwell case, there is no hard and fast rule. In the recent case of Williamson v The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, the court confirmed that in certain circumstances covert recordings will admissible”.
Miss Dyke continued “Employers wanting to protect themselves should consider making it clear that employees are explicitly prohibited from recording meetings. This would help to protect the privacy of discussions and an employee’s breach would be grounds for disciplinary action.
Employers should also ensure that minutes or notes are taken of meetings and that this is set out in the relevant company procedures. The notes should be provided to all those present at the meeting and the employee should be asked to agree to the content of the notes or attach any comments or amendments”.
George Green LLP offers pragmatic advice on dealing with disciplinary and grievance procedures and also represents employers in Employment Tribunal claims.