Recording Disciplinary and Grievance Meetings

We have advised clients for years that an employee who secretly records disciplinary and grievance meetings is more than likely to have the recording admissible as evidence in any subsequent Employment Tribunal. The Employment Tribunal has a wide discretion to determine whether evidence is admissible and in practice, it will generally decide it is, if it is relevant to the issues between the parties. More often than not, this is not good news for the employer.

In a recent case the Employment Appeals Tribunal upheld an Employment Tribunal decision that covert recordings made by an employee could be admitted as evidence.

If you have any suspicion that an employee is recording any meeting covertly, good practice at the start of the meeting is to ask the employee if they have any recording devices and if they are recording the meeting. If they say they are not recording but it later emerges they have, if nothing else, an employer has very good arguments for saying the employee has broken the ‘trust and confidence’ between the parties.

Given it is now very easy to secretly record meetings on a mobile phone or other device, an employer should take care in any meeting and work on the basis the employee could be recording the discussions.

As a side note, it is generally not a good idea for an employer to record the meeting. It is much better to have another person present if possible and rely on notes made during the meeting or immediately after.

Our employment team only acts for employers and offer all our clients a fixed fee employment law service. If you would like to speak to one of our employment lawyers or one of our other solicitors specialising in business, please call.

If you would like to discuss any business law matters please contact us by telephone on 01768 480230.  See also struttandco.com

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Disgruntled ex-employee causes IT chaos

In a vivid warning to the business community that embittered ex-staff members can sometimes return with a vengeance, a disgruntled computer expert who used his technical skills to take retribution on his former employers caused chaos after hacking into servers of his former employer.

We often see chaos caused to employers by employees leaving and taking confidential information which they then use for their new employer or when setting up a competing business. Often a lot of damage and expensive litigation can be avoided by the employer
adopting basic security processes i.e. regularly changing passwords; disabling USB ports on computers and including “dummy” entries only known to senior directors in databases to act as triggers to identify unauthorised use.

Taking basic steps and having good IT security policies in place can prevent a disgruntled ex-employee causing damage to your systems after leaving employment and be useful tools in identifying wrongdoing of an employee who leaves for a competitor or sets up a competing
business taking your confidential information/databases with them.

Why is a business law firm suggesting IT matters to you?

Simply because adopting a few very basic security processes can avoid costly litigation when things go wrong. Should you unfortunately find your business in a situation like this you will need to act quickly to minimise the damage and our solicitors at Strutt & Co. will provide you with the speed of response your business requires.

If you would like to discuss any business law matters please contact us by telephone on  01768 480230.

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Previous posts..

Is your business prepared for ‘London 2012 Olympics Fever’?

For most businesses major sporting events are usually a time of significant increase in the rate of absenteeism. Christopher Strutt of specialist business law firm, Strutt & Co. says that “Like any illness, prevention is better than cure and that planning now and adopting good working practices is the key to avoiding ‘London 2012 Olympics Fever’ and significant increases in staff absence during the Olympic Games.”

Whilst we all want Great Britain to do well and progress through the competition, many businesses were predicting a huge strain on business resources due to unauthorised staff absence.

Chris continues “Employers should prepare now to organise their approach to the Olympic Games and take steps to ensure that staff absenteeism is kept to a minimum. All employers should already have a procedure in place for reporting sickness absence as well as dealing with unacceptable levels of absence. For example, at a minimum, employers should have a policy of conducting return to work interviews on the first day back to work. Adopting this strategy alone can significantly reduce absenteeism but employers should also have a clear policy and procedure in place to identify and deal with unacceptable levels of unauthorised absence.”

Chris suggests that businesses should be proactive in efforts to reduce absenteeism during the Olympic Games and adopt a strategy that suits their business requirements. “Some employers are considering screening the Olympics at their premises or relaxing their internet use policy temporarily to allow on-line viewing or at least receive Olympic updates. Other employers may be able to adopt a flexible approach to employees working hours or to allow employees to take time off to watch the Olympics. This could be good for staff morale, however, employers should be clear how this will be considered as they could face a large volume of requests, which could impact on productivity and have the opposite effect on morale if requests are refused. At the very least businesses should remind employees of their rules about sick pay and the procedures that are in place for dealing with unauthorised absence. Unauthorised absence is very different to genuine sickness absence and employers would certainly be entitled to take disciplinary action against an employee if the employer found the reason for the absence was ‘London 2012 Olympics Fever’ and not genuine sickness.

Whatever approach a business chooses to take, planning now and letting employees know how ‘London 2012 Olympics Fever’ will be dealt with will reduce absenteeism and make a much more enjoyable and hopefully successful Olympic Games for us all. Come on Great Britain!”

Managing sickness absence is just one topic Strutt & Co. will be covering in future Employment Law seminars.

For more information and guidance on adopting a strategy to suit your business requirements, call Chris on 01768 480230, or email law@struttandco.com or visit struttandco.com
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