We recently posted a blog about whether employers should secretly tape meetings with their employees. The issue arises because employers believe that employees are secretly taping them.
As we have previously posted, we have gotten a lot of comments on this post, mostly about the legality of such secret recordings. However, one comment brought up a new issue.
Patricia Davies posted in the LinkedIn Group Bullying, harassment, discrimination UK: “This is an interesting one. ACAS once TOLD me to record a meeting with two senior managers, but not secretly. I didn’t actually ask if secretly would be OK. The managers would not allow me to take a witness so I phoned ACAS. I was told to either decline the meeting or record it. I suppose that if an employee gets bullied into a two on one meeting with two senior managers and they will not allow a witness, then the voice recorder is the only answer.”
For those employers outside of the UK, ACAS, which stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Services, is an organization designed to help resolve employee disputes. It touts itself as being widely recommended by managers and employers and we have no reason to doubt this is true. That makes it all the more striking that they are giving the advice to tape record meetings, presumably which would be used by the employee in a lawsuit against the employer. To us, this seems a little far afield of mediating a dispute.
If an organization that is supposed to be neutral in employee disputes makes this recommendation, you can bet that there are plenty of plaintiffs’ attorneys giving the same advice.
We have not posted this to suggest that employers should resort to their own secret tapings. Rather, it demonstrates the importance of examining your own internal policies to see if you want to have a policy that prohibits secret taping. We recommend consulting with legal counsel on this one as employers will need to make sure that the policy complies with the National Labor Relations Act.