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Can an employee insist on electronic recordings of disciplinary/grievance hearings?

Can an employee insist on electronic recordings of disciplinary/grievance hearings?

Burnetts HR Consultant, Eleanor Morland, explains whether a recording can be insisted upon in a disciplinary hearing.

For advice on what to consider when writing a disciplinary letter, read our article here.

With advances in technology making it easier for employees access recording equipment, an increasingly common question we are asked is ‘can an employee insist on recording a disciplinary/grievance hearings?’

In short the answer is generally no, neither an employer nor an employee can insist on recording any disciplinary/grievance hearing. 

However, there may be times an employer and employee agree to a meeting being recorded, for example where a disabled employee requests recording the meeting as a reasonable adjustment or where the employer’s own procedure allows for meetings to be recorded.

In practice it is more common for an employer to have a note taker attend hearings to take notes of the meeting and produce a record of the meeting which the employee can be asked to agree and sign (but getting their agreement is not a legal requirement).

Read more about preparing for a disciplinary hearing here.

Employers should however be aware that although they may not provide consent to a meeting being recorded, covert recording of meetings has become easier and more common for employees to do with devices such as mobile phones and tablets being easily utilised to make covert recordings. 

Also important for employers to note is that recordings, even those taken covertly by an employee are admissible in Employment Tribunal Proceedings.  It is therefore increasingly important for employers to be mindful that they don’t say anything at an employee meeting that they wouldn’t want to be heard within an Employment Tribunal. 

This principle should also extend to what is said during any adjournment, as recording devices could be left in a room whilst employees have been asked to leave, recording the employer’s private deliberations.

Whilst covert recording cannot be avoided in all cases, employers may find it helpful to state in their procedures and at the start of any meeting that recording is prohibited and ask the employee to confirm for the notes that they are not recording the hearing.

If you would like more advice and guidance on disciplinary or grievance hearings, please contact Eleanor Morland on 01228 552222.

About the author

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Eleanor Morland

Eleanor is a HR Consultant at Burnetts.

Published: Friday 14th October 2016
Categorised: Employment, HR, Legal Services in Newcastle, Penrith, West Cumbria

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