A recent comment made by an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) opens up a whole new can of worms about the covert recording of interactions in the workplace. It would appear that in some circumstances, if appropriately transcribed & the relevance of the recording is made clear, that a tribunal might be directed to consider this as evidence in hearing a claim.
Whilst the EAT commented that the secret recording was “very distasteful” and didn’t actually uphold the appeal, they criticised the tribunal’s reasoning for not permitting the recordings to be relied upon. So it isn’t a clear directive by any stretch of the imagination but it does serve as a reminder to employers that covert recordings might be admissible in some circumstances.
Even having a policy or contractual term that forbids such recordings wouldn’t necessarily stop a claimant from being able to use them as evidence. It would simply mean that an employer could claim that the employee breached their contract.
So our best advice… as always… is to treat your employees with respect… and don’t say anything that you’d rather not hear played back on tape at a later date!