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09-06-2006, 10:43 AM
Morning folks :). Looking for a spot of advice from our supreme legal people ;).

A friend of mine had a meeting with their then employer, and they asked me to attend. They have since left the job and taken a new position in a different line of work. However, her previous employer has made reference to a 'poor attitude' in their reference for my friend.

This goes completely against what was said in the meeting. They said, quite categorically, that they were more than happy for my friend to return to work, or would be happy to give her a good reference should she feel more comfortable pursuing a different line of work. They maintained that all they were interested in was what was best for my friend, and would support her either way.

My question is this:- I recorded the meeting on my mobile phone. My friend and I knew I was recording it, but we did not disclose this to her then current employer. Should the need arise, would we be able to use this recording as evidence? My friend got the other job despite the reference, but was given a longer trial-period, and as a result, will be on a lower salary for the duration of the trial period.

Cheers :). Not really looking for speculation, just want to know whether it's a 'yay' or 'nay' :).

ShyBoy
09-06-2006, 11:07 AM
Dont see why you can't use it as evidence :p it's proof isn't it? You're quite canny with technology aren't ya? :p

Fiend_85
09-06-2006, 11:11 AM
You can't if you didn't tell them you were recording it. Not legally, but a quiet word with the former employer might be enough to get them to change the reference.

BritJamez
09-06-2006, 11:48 AM
You recorded a conversation that you were having.
Without the other party's concent.

If you have a "quiet" word with them - it could be seen as bribery.

I do not see how you are thinking of using this.

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09-06-2006, 11:58 AM
They say one thing during the meeting, and another when it comes to providing the reference. There were two members of staff present during the meeting, plus myself and my friend. The recording was done primarily for reference.


You recorded a conversation that you were having.
Without the other party's concent.

It is perfectly legal to record a telephone coversation without the knowledge of the other participant. All I want to know is whether or not similar laws apply to direct conversations.


I do not see how you are thinking of using this.

They said one thing during the meeting, and another when it came to giving the reference. The resulting reference resulted in the changing of an employment offer already made. If it can be proven that the company was not acting in good faith, and supplied a reference that was unfair, misleading or factually untrue, then my friend is entitled to make a claim against her previous employer as their comments have damaged her job opportunity and earning potential.

Jim V
09-06-2006, 12:00 PM
Okay according to the Information Commissioners helpline on 01625 545 745 the following applies -

Under the Data Protection Act (DPA) anything recorded for personal use and used for your own personal affairs is exempt under the DPA's Section 36 - Domestic purposes exemption. They are pretty certain this applies here (it wouldn't if it was a meeting between two different companies but here it should be fine) so it's been recorded perfectly legally i.e. you didn't need to tell them you were doing it.

However any use of the information as evidence in an industrial tribunal, etc, would have to be decided by the hearing itself, as they can choose what is appropiate to use as evidence.

Though get your friend to call them directly to go through the details.

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09-06-2006, 12:01 PM
Okay according to the Information Commissioners helpline <snip>

Excellent stuff! I love you, JimV! :heart: ;)

BritJamez
09-06-2006, 12:21 PM
It is perfectly legal to record a telephone coversation without the knowledge of the other participant

No it isn't.

Same way as it isn't legal to videotape a girl (without her concent) and you having sex, and then using the tape to say she agreed to it if she claims you raped her.

Click to see more
09-06-2006, 12:42 PM
Can I record telephone conversations on my home phone?

Yes. The relevant law, RIPA, does not prohibit individuals from recording their own communications provided that the recording is for their own use. Recording or monitoring are only prohibited where some of the contents of the communication - which can be a phone conversation or an e-mail - are made available to a third party, ie someone who was neither the caller or sender nor the intended recipient of the original communication. For further information see the Home Office website where RIPA is posted.


Do I have to let people know that I intend to record their telephone conversations with me?

No, provided you are not intending to make the contents of the communication available to a third party. If you are you will need the consent of the person you are recording.

Courtesy of Ofcom (http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/oftel/consumer/advice/faqs/prvfaq3.htm).

BritJamez
09-06-2006, 01:29 PM
Recording or monitoring are only prohibited where some of the contents of the communication - which can be a phone conversation or an e-mail - are made available to a third party

OK, sorry, it is.
But using it in a tribunal, or to bribe / blackmail someone into giving a better reference isn't.

So it's really pointless seeing as you would be making it available to a "third party"

Jim V
09-06-2006, 01:33 PM
Using a phone to record something isn't the same as recording a telephone call. None of the laws stated in the article you linked to have anything to do with a live recording.

And this isn't a bribe it's about using something as evidence for the actions of a dishonest employer.

Only the Data Protection Act and the Human Rights are of any relevance here, not the other three mentioned in your article.

Kentish
09-06-2006, 02:02 PM
I can understand why your friend's employer wouldn't want to go on about a bad attitude if she was leaving the company anyway. Is there any chance that the reference is more accurate than the taped conversation?

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09-06-2006, 02:13 PM
JimV - I'm only linking to it because BritJames is claiming that recording telephone conversations is illegal. I know it isn't relevant in this instance :).


Recording or monitoring are only prohibited where some of the contents of the communication - which can be a phone conversation or an e-mail - are made available to a third party

OK, sorry, it is.
But using it in a tribunal, or to bribe / blackmail someone into giving a better reference isn't.

So it's really pointless seeing as you would be making it available to a "third party"

It wasn't recorded with the intention of disclosing it to any other party. The recording was made for reference only - a lot can be said in a 30 minute meeting, and my friend wasn't in the right frame of mind to recall exactly what had been said.

How on earth you've come to the conclusion that this is blackmail, I'll never know. Things were said in the meeting that were, quite blatantly, reversed when the time came to give a reference. Nobody is looking to bribe, or blackmail. But the reference is - in my opinion - untrue and unjust.

Had I recorded the conversation and then sold it to a newspaper, then I would be disclosing it to a third party. If I posted it on the internet and asked you lot for comments, I'd be disclosing it to a third party. If a tribunal were to take place, and it was the word of the company against the word of my friend and I. But as a recording exists, then it would be up to the tribunal to decide whether it would be allowed as a source of evidence.

To my mind, the recording is no different to a collection of notes on a sheet of paper. Other than the notes aren't complete, nor accurate, and the recording is.

Why would I be trying to blackmail anyone, when I was enquiring whether or not I would be allowed to use the conversation as evidence? I'm not saying to them that if they don't give a better reference than the employee was entitled to, then I'll slash their tyres and poo on their faces. I am seeking that comments made regarding the employee, and their entitlement to a reference, are honoured.

It's hardly blackmail, or anything other than what the employee is entitled to.


I can understand why your friend's employer wouldn't want to go on about a bad attitude if she was leaving the company anyway. Is there any chance that the reference is more accurate than the taped conversation?

At the time, she wasn't leaving. She has been working through depression for a number of years, and tried a different type of medication. She had a bad reaction to it and was then signed off work by her doctor - this wasn't a long term thing, it was a handful of weeks. During the time she was signed off work, her residence was made unhabitable by a fire, fuelling the need to further efforts on finding a suitable medication.

She wanted to return to work approximately a month after the onset of all this, but was told that she couldn't return to work until her doctor was prepared to give her the all clear.

At this point, she started questioning her role in life, and gave thought to other lines of work. She spotted a job in a local paper that involved working with people who suffer from mental illness, and she decided to apply.

At the time of the meeting, she had not decided to leave the company. But she(we) were told during that meeting that the company were more than happy for her to return to work - it was positively encouraged. At the same time, her boss/manager told us that if she felt it was better for her to leave the job and seek employment doing something else, then she wished her the best of luck and stated she would be more than happy to provide a good reference.

To me, the fact that the company wanted her to return to work should be enough proof that a poor reference is unwarranted?

BritJamez
09-06-2006, 02:57 PM
I didn't say you were planning to bribe / blackmail.

I incorporated Fiend 85's answer into the debate.

The police chief did the same thing. He recorded a conversation (albeit a telephone one) because his PA wasn't about to take minutes. He almost got fired because of it (although he's weasled out of worse!)

anyways, I was just bored and making things complicated in this post - hehe - *grin*

Kentish
09-06-2006, 06:13 PM
To me, the fact that the company wanted her to return to work should be enough proof that a poor reference is unwarranted?
I see that, but why would they give her a poor reference then? A lot of companies these days decline to provide character references and simply confirm details of employment such as commencement and leaving dates, and salary. If all references were bland drivel then there wouldn't be any point to them - which suggests to me that the company was being honest, if harsh, in its reference for your friend.

ps If you taping the conversation was all above board, why not disclose it at the time of the meeting? This is all very cloak-and-dagger if you ask me. Has the reference meant that she hasn't got the job she wanted?

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09-06-2006, 06:26 PM
Nothing cloak-and-dagger about it. The meeting wasn't being recorded for any reason other than to save me writing out any notes - I was in all my motorcycle gear that day, and was rather too hot and sweaty to start trying to write sensibly!

To be honest, once she'd been offered the job I deleted the recording, without even listening to it. I've had to go through a number of hoops to get it back - have a read on Google (http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=ext3+file+undelete&btnG=Search&meta=) about undeleting files from an ext3 partition (http://linux.sys-con.com/read/117909.htm).

I'm inclined to say that the poor reference was just a stab in the back for my friend. Her boss is something of a tyrannical ruler, and just left her work piling up whilst she was away. When she left, her boss was left with several weeks worth of work.

The reference may be accurate - I've never worked with her. But all my instincts tell me otherwise on this one.

She still got the job she wanted, though they have put her on a 3-month trial period, which resulted in a reduced rate of pay. I don't really think the money or the amended job offer are a big deal - it'd be nicer if this hadn't happened, but it's the principle of it to me. Not sure about how she feels at the moment.

xandyx
24-03-2008, 03:12 PM
I Know this Post Is Quite Old...But Can Anyone One Please Clarify
I want to Record A Meeting Between My Employer & I - is it legal!

They Have Completely Dismissed other conversations have taken place, and I have been verbally abused by them...I have a good case for constructive dismissal but need to record a private conversation just to have a bit of backup for me if i take the tribunal route...

I'm not in a union...so no help there...

Please only constructive advise...

Thanks Andy

Kermit
24-03-2008, 05:39 PM
It was answered before :banghead:

Recording it isn't necessarily going to be any use, it depends on the employment tribunal agreeing to accept it as evidence. Rather than wading in with a tape recorder you need to get employment advice. Ring ACAS or Community Legal Advice.

xandyx
24-03-2008, 06:06 PM
Yes i understand...I dont mean to be annoying

but isn't a tribunal a third party? so would this mean that it would be dismissed??
i would be recording covertly...so that the employer can treat me exactly how i was treated on thursday...but have proof of it happening.


I need help b4 tomorrow... ACAS etc closed all weekend.

Whowhere
24-03-2008, 07:22 PM
A quick point as well, RIPA (or Regulation of Investigatory powers Act) only applies to the police or government agencies. Not private persons or companies.