Covert Recordings - What Are the Rules?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that if an employee hides a tape recorder and records his employer's private deliberations during a grievance and disciplinary hearing, this evidence will normally be admissible in the employment tribunal.

In Punjab National Bank v Gosain, the employer was alleged to have made wholly inappropriate comments about the employee when she was out of the room.

These comments had (allegedly) been captured on a covert recording, and the EAT said it was all a question of balance – between the general rule of admissibility of relevant evidence and the public policy interest in preserving confidentiality. 

The EAT found that the employment judge had acted correctly in allowing the recordings to be heard as the private material recorded in this case fell well outside the area of the grievance and disciplinary panel’s remit.