Employers will benefit from guidance given by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) on when employees can rely on secret recordings of conversations in employment law claims.
An employee recorded conversations in relation to grievance and disciplinary hearings. Some were public and some private. The employer applied for a ruling that the recordings were inadmissible.
The EAT said that the fact recordings are made covertly does not make them inadmissible per se. Instead, Tribunals should carry out a “balancing exercise, setting the general rule of admissibility of relevant evidence against the public policy interest in preserving the confidentiality of private deliberations in the internal grievance/disciplinary context”.
In this case, the Employment Tribunal had carried out such an exercise, so the EAT upheld its ruling that the recordings were admissible.
Employers should be aware that employees may try to secretly record meetings and conversations, and so on, and should consider whether to offer recording facilities of their own so that the fact they are being made is known to all.
Case ref: Punjab National Bank (International) Ltd & Ors v Gosain Ltd UKEAT/0003/14/SM
Jonathan Waters is the founder of Helix Law. Before qualifying as a Solicitor he worked in industry and in investment banking for over a decade. He was also the Partner in charge of Commercial Litigation, Employment Law and Property Litigation at Stephen Rimmer LLP. Jonathan has wide experience of helping and advising businesses to avoid or to deal with commercial disputes and in particular construction disputes.
This article is written to raise awareness of the issues it discusses and it may not be updated after it is first written, even if the law changes. It is not intended to be legal advice and cannot be relied on as such. Helix Law is not responsible or liable for any action taken or not taken as a result of this article. If you think the matters set out affect you and you wish to apply them to your particular circumstances then we are happy to give you free initial telephone advice.