Hi there, don’t treat this meeting any different than if it was being taken by the employer. Regardless of who takes it your rights will remain the same. In terms of recording it, you may ask to be allowed to do so but they can refuse. In that case you may wish to consider recording it secretly – it is not illegal to do so and there is actually case law supporting this. You are only allowed to have representation if it is a formal disciplinary meeting so clarify it in advance to see what the purpose of the meeting is.
It is difficult to advise exactly on how to handle this without knowing the employer’s intentions and the exact nature of the meeting. So that is why you need to ask in advance what the purpose of the meeting is and that will allow you to plan your actions. If it is not a formal disciplinary hearing then you should be able to end it as and when you wish because you are not bound to continue with it and you are in effect voluntarily attending it, rather than being compelled to attend it due to formal disciplinary action.
So only answer questions you are happy to answer and do not overthink their involvement too much.
This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the case law that deals with secretly recording meetings, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Thank you. It is not illegal to secretly record meetings between individuals. Whether any legal issues arise as a result depends on the contents of the conversation being recorded and how the recording is to be used.
The first issue is in relation to third party confidentiality. The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) applies to situations involving the processing of personal data. If the recording deliberately or accidentally records personal data about a third party, then its use could be restricted by the DPA. As such, try not to keep any recordings that contain such information.
The second issue is to do with the intended use of the recording. If this is to be used as evidence in court, whilst the court retains the final authority on whether it should be allowed as evidence, certain principles exist and can be considered in advance.
The leading case is that of Dogherty v Chairman and Governors of Amwell School. Mrs Dogherty, a teacher in the school, had made secret recordings of an "open" disciplinary meeting that she was subjected to and the subsequent "private" appeal meeting, held in her absence. She then tried to use these recordings as evidence in her claim for unfair dismissal against the school.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal decided the following:
· The contents of the "open" disciplinary hearing were capable of being secretly recorded as it was directly relevant to the teacher's claim
· The recording of the "private" appeal hearing was not admissible as evidence. As this was conducted in private, it was not directly relevant to the claim.
A more recent case is that of Punjab National Bank v Gosain, where an employee covertly recorded private discussions made by the employer as part of a grievance and disciplinary hearing. The employer may inappropriate remarks about the employee and the Employment Appeals Tribunal decided that this is admissible evidence as the comments did not form part of the deliberation process of the grievance and disciplinary.
So whether a court would allow the use of a secret recording very much depends on the contents of the recording and the nature of the meeting that was being recorded. As long as there is no illegal recording of personal data about others and the conversation that was recorded was not part of private deliberations about the issues at hand, there is a good argument that their use as evidence should be allowed.
ok so it appears that they are treating your complaint as a grievance and are just getting a third party involved to impartially deal with it. I really do not see this being an issue or for you to be concerned about. You are able to terminate the complaint at any time if you wanted to, simply state that you no longer wish to pursue this as a complaint and they cannot force you to continue with it. You are also free to resign at any time, the employer cannot prevent you from resigning or refuse to accept your resignation so it is up to you really if you want to go down that route
It does not matter what decision the HR person comes to, this can all be taken to tribunal further if needed. In terms of telling the truth, this should always happen of course but sadly it is not always the case. To this day people still even lie under oath in court so there is never a full guarantee that someone will be telling the truth.
Asking them to accept evidence from someone else is something you can do but cannot force them to accept it so they will decide what is relevant and what is not. You cannot legally bring in a lawyer with you unless the employer agrees to it so you would need their consent to that. However, I do not see any point in doing so, it will not change much to be honest and it will just incur unnecessary costs for you
you are welcome