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There could be various reasons you, or your Employer, may wish to audio-record important work meetings/hearings, including the hope that this will support your/their position should a claim (for unfair dismissal, or discrimination, for example) be made to employment tribunal in the future.
[Article updated for 2015]
However neither an employee, nor an employer, has the right to record a meeting – unless both parties agree to the recording. It is unlikely that many employers would agree to this (as it is unlikely that most Employers disciplinary procedures or grievance procedures would expressly allow this).
Recording meetings can make all of those taking part feel uncomfortable, and may affect the way the meeting runs – it is much more preferable to have a neutral person present to take notes, which are shared with all participants afterwards.
And obviously the employee has the right to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing by a work colleague or trade union representative – and either the employee or person accompanying them can take notes also.
The note-takers are important in case the technology to audio-record the meeting fails and there is then no documentation to prove what or what was not said.
What happens if an employee and employer do not agree the written minutes/notes of a disciplinary or grievance hearing? An employer should provide a copy of the minutes/notes taken at the meeting to the employee. If the employee does not agree that the notes are accurate, the employer should ask him/her to give a corrected version. If the employer agrees that the employee’s version is accurate, the amendments can be agreed as the record. If the employer does not agree that the employee’s version is accurate, it should keep both versions on record. (Then both versions of the notes can be referred to at any later date, including at tribunal).
Employers who wish to record hearings need to consider:
Employees who wish to record meetings:
If an employee has a physical or mental impairment that makes taking their own notes difficult or impossible then allowing them to take an audio recording of the meeting may be an option, if there is no other reasonable alternative.
If you are an Employer and need ongoing professional help with any staff/freelance issues then talk to us at The HR Kiosk – a Human Resources Consultancy for small businesses – our fees are low to reflect the pressures on small businesses and you can hire us for as much time as you need.
Please note that the advice given on this website and by our Advisors is guidance only and cannot be taken as an authoritative or current interpretation of the law. It can also not be seen as specific advice for individual cases. Please also note that there are differences in legislation in Northern Ireland.
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