Employees Secretly Recording Grievance And Disciplinary Hearings

Employees Secretly Recording Grievance And Disciplinary Hearings

In this case, an employee secretly recorded her employers adjournment discussions by leaving a secret tape recorder in her coat when she left the room for an adjournment. It may ruffle some of your feathers to learn that the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) has held that secret recordings of private deliberations made in the course of grievance and disciplinary proceedings can be admissible in evidence at an employment tribunal.

In this EAT case, the employee alleged that during her disciplinary and grievance hearing, inappropriate comments were made while she was out of the room.
The alleged comments included; an instruction from the company’s managing director to dismiss her, discussions about the deliberate skipping of key issues in her grievance letter e.g. not being allowed a proper lunch break, matters relating to her pregnancy and derogatory and sexually offensive remarks.

The employee subsequently bought claims for sex discrimination, constructive dismissal and sexual harassment which are to be heard in tribunal next month.

The lesson here is to ensure you act professionally when conducting these hearings.

– Don’t say anything that you would not want an employment tribunal to hear!
– Carry out your deliberations/take an adjournment in a different room – Keep any inappropriate comments truly “off the record”!
– Prohibit employees from making secret recordings by including wording to that affect in your staff handbook and set out the consequences of any breach including dismissal.

Punjab National Bank (International) Ltd & Ors v Gosain [2014] UKEAT 0003/14/0107

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