Admissibility of covert tape recordings in employment tribunal cases
By Russell Holland
This article examines the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s (EAT’s) ruling in Punjab National Bank v Gosain UKEAT/0003/14/SM, the latest in a series of rulings that consider the admissibility of covert tape recordings in employment tribunal proceedings.
In Punjab National Bank v Gosain UKEAT/0003/14/SM, the EAT has given a judgment about the admissibility of covert recordings. The claimant was employed by the respondent bank from May 2011 until she resigned claiming constructive dismissal, sexual harassment and sex discrimination in January 2013. At a grievance meeting in November 2012 and a disciplinary hearing in January 2013, the claimant had recorded both private and public conversations without the knowledge or consent of the respondent. These records were disclosed in July 2013. The respondent objected to these recordings being admissible but at a pre-hearing review the tribunal judge found that they were admissible.
The tribunal judge considered three authorities: Amwell View School Governors v Dogherty  ICR 125 (Mr Recorder Luba QC and members); Vaughan v London Borough of Lewisham & Ors  UKEAT/0534/12 (Underhill J, as he then was, and members); and Williamson v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police UKEAT/0346/09, 9 March 2010 (HHJ Birtles sitting alone)…
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Claimant probably suffered feelings of ‘confusion […] frustration and/ or helplessness and injustice’ – particularly after getting no compensation.
Insufficient safeguards in place to protect information.