With the advancement of technology, it is now extremely easy for employees to record conversations in the workplace, either legitimately or covertly. When requested, should you allow an employee to record a formal meeting?
Like anything in business there are advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include:
- Evidence that you have confidence in your managers handling of the process and that you have ‘nothing to hide’.
- You have an opportunity to put parameters on which the recording can be used, for example by requesting the employee assign copyright to your company to ensure the recording is not used inappropriately on social media or YouTube.
- You can control which parts of the hearing are recorded, for example only the main hearing and not private conversation during the adjournment.
- It may be appropriate for an employer to agree to a recording where the employee is disabled and requests such a recording as a reasonable adjustment to the usual procedure.
Whilst there may be advantages to granting permission for a hearing to be recorded, our advice would be to proceed with caution.
- Ensure that the employee has stopped the recording at the appropriate time to ensure that any private conversation which takes place during the adjournment are not captured. Where possible managers should carry out their deliberation in a different room or at the very least ensure when the employee leaves the room, they have taken their personal belongings including the recording device with them.
- Ensure managers are fully trained and have prepared for the disciplinary hearing in advance.
- Ensure they are comfortable with what is/is not an appropriate comment to make during the adjournment.
If you do decide to allow a hearing to be recorded, then it is important to capture the employee’s agreement to theses parameters in writing so that you have this evidence should the recording be used inappropriately.
If you decide to decline the request, ensure this is explained to the employee at the beginning of the hearing and ask the employee to confirm that he/she understands and is not recording the meeting, ensure this is included in the minutes. If the employee goes ahead anyway, the business will be able to question the employee’s credibility.
If the employee does covertly record the meeting, then it is at the tribunals discretion if the evidence is admissible. Tribunals will usually accept evidence is admissible if it is relevant to the issues in dispute, has been disclosed in good time and would, if admitted, not breach the Human Rights Act 1998.
Whether you allow a disciplinary hearing to be recorded or not, it is imperative that to protect the business and ensure best practice is followed and that managers are fully trained to carry out formal meetings. If you feel that managers need some additional support or training, ProAktive offer a wide range of packages to support your business.
HR Business Partner