Recording a grievance meeting at work

by Redmans Solicitors on October 8, 2012

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If you’ve submitted a formal grievance to your employer then it’s likely that you’re unhappy with some aspect of your workplace. Whether your grievance relates to the way you’ve been treated at work, your colleagues’ attitudes to you or your workload it can often be a stressful and confusing time. Employees often distrust how their grievance procedure will be dealt with and it’s therefore understandable that you may wish to take detailed notes on your grievance process to record any elements of unfairness. You may also wish to, for example, record your grievance hearing. However, this can be a potentially risky thing to do. This post examines the practicalities relating to recording a grievance hearing, the law relating to this, and whether you can use a recording in Employment Tribunal proceedings (e.g. if you’re claiming for unfair dismissal or discrimination). It will do so by looking at the following:

  1. Am I allowed to record a grievance meeting?
  2. Can I record my grievance meeting?
  3. Can I be disciplined if my employer discovers I recorded the meeting?
  4. Conclusion – risky business

Am I allowed to record a grievance meeting?

Whether you’re allowed to record your grievance meeting depends, to a great extent, on the attitude of your employer to this and how the recording is undertaken. There are two possibilities when choosing to record a grievance hearing: you can either try and get your employer’s consent (i.e. by asking them whether you can record the meeting) or you can try and recording the grievance hearing without their consent. Your employer may record the meeting themselves or, alternatively, your employment solicitor may record the meeting themselves if they are allowed to attend the hearing.

Can I record my grievance meeting?

Most employers take the position that they object to the recording of grievance meetings for one reason or another – normally that if something legally compromising is said or done in the meeting then they are able to deny this. If you are aware that your employer will probably object to you recording the grievance hearing then you either have the option of asking (and probably being turned down) or recording the meeting without your employer’s consent. If your employer doesn’t object to you recording the grievance meeting (and you ask whether you can) then there’s no problem. Alternatively, your employer may choose to record the grievance meeting. If your employer does so then you should ask your employer for a copy after the grievance process has concluded.

So, there are three options available to you:

  1. Ask your employer whether you can record the grievance meeting
  2. Record the grievance hearing without informing your employer that you’re doing so
  3. Ask your employer to record the grievance meeting and supply you with a copy

If you decide to record your grievance hearing and also decide not to inform your employer about the fact that you’re recording it then for the purposes of evidence the recording is only admissible to the extent that you’re present in the room when the recording is taking place. If you, for example, go to the toilet for 10 minutes halfway through the grievance hearing but keep recording then anything said whilst you’re absent from the room (and the recording is taking place) is most likely inadmissible (i.e. it won’t be accepted as evidence in an Employment Tribunal).

Can I be disciplined if my employer discovers I recorded the meeting?

If you recorded the grievance meeting without your employer’s consent then there are certainly grounds for an allegation of misconduct and you being disciplined on the back of this. This may even be deemed to be a gross misconduct offence by your employer and could possibly lead to you being dismissed without notice. Depending on the circumstances you may then be entitled to make a claim for unfair dismissal to the Employment Tribunal.

Recording a grievance meeting – a risky business

If you decide to record your grievance meeting then you’re certainly taking a big risk with your job. However, whether you choose to accept this risk depends on the circumstances of the situation and whether you think that the advantages of recording the grievance meeting outweighs the disadvantages of doing so.

Redmans Solicitors are London employment lawyers that have employment solicitors available in Hounslow. They offer employment law advice, compromise agreement advice and are unfair dismissal solicitors

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