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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50174
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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My friend works in a hostel where young troubled people live.

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My friend works in a hostel where young troubled people live. She was having a one to one session with one when he was asked to leave as he was not suitably dressed. He left a recording device in the office when he left. My friend made a deter mental remark about the individual to her manager, this was back in January. He is now facing eviction due to his behaviour and has produced the recording to the management to get my friend in trouble. How does she stand ?

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

What remark was made?

Customer: I hate that bastard
Ben Jones :

How long has she worked there for?

Customer: 9 years. Every other member of staff refused to work with this individual and she voiced that she didn't want to work with him however he asked for her to be his key worker. Face to face with him she has always acted professionally and supported him.
Ben Jones :

is she being disciplined?

Customer: This matter is being investigated. She has been off on leave and her line manager has made her aware of this complaint. She is due back at work tomorrow.
Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

It is not illegal to have recorded the conversation in the first place so if needed the person could have forwarded it to the employer to raise a complaint. However, what really matters is how the employer deals with it and what happens next.


As this is an alleged act of misconduct, that is a common reason for taking disciplinary action against an employee. It could be due either to a single serious act of misconduct or a series of less serious acts over a period of time.


In order to justify that disciplinary action on grounds of misconduct was fair, the law requires that the employer:

  • Conducts a reasonable investigation;

  • Follows a fair disciplinary procedure; and

  • Shows they had reasonable grounds to believe the employee was guilty.


In addition, the employer is expected to follow the ACAS Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures.


In general, before any formal decision and penalty are taken the employer must consider how serious the offence is, how it has impacted the business or clients and if it warrants formal action being taken. After all, in this case this was a comment made in private, not directly to the person’s face, and not intended to be made public or reach the person about whom it was made. It was also only discovered through covert recording, when she had no expectation for it to be there.


So whilst she cannot really take any action against the person who made the complaint, all eyes are on the employer now and how they deal with this issue, ensuring it is done in a fair and reasonable manner. If she has any concerns then she can always appeal any formal decision taken against her and depending on the outcome – consider further action as appropriate.


Customer: What would be further action?
Ben Jones :

for example if dismissal is the outcome - claim for unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal

Customer: Is it acceptable for this recording device to left in an office where sensitive information in relation to other clients can be discussed
Ben Jones :

if personal information about others was recorded and is being used there would be potential data protection issues but even then that is not for your friend to be concerned with as it is the people whose information was recorded that would have the right to complain

Customer: Many thanks
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