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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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can the chair of a disciplinary hearing prevent me from making

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can the chair of a disciplinary hearing prevent me from making my own notes?
am i allowed to record a disciplinary hearing, e.g. with a dictaphone or other sound recording equipment?

background:
i had a disciplinary hearing on 28 june, and the first thing that happened was i was asked to put away my computer. i asked if there was a rule against me making my own notes, and he said yes. i complied.
during the conversation, the chair repeatedly interrupted me "to let the note-taker keep up", often saying something like "i'm not trying to interrupt your train of thought" (but he clearly was doing so, intentionally or not -- i believe it was intentional)
in the event, the note-taker present made incomplete and inaccurate notes, even when i spoke very slowly in the hope of being quoted correctly. after the spoken part, i took about half an hour writing comments on her notes, generally my comment on each paragraph was similar to "this is not an accurate representation of what i said"

they have summoned me to another disciplinary hearing 1pm today to discuss new allegations. (their letter did not include the time, i had to request it via email.)
as i have no confidence in the hearing being conducted or recorded in a fair and proper manner, i intend to record the entire meeting.

i expect eventually to have to take legal action against the company (they have not given me any shifts nor paid me any wages since 4th june, although i have not been formally suspended)
i will also later be seeking advice on action against my manager (regarding the initial false allegations and his continued breach of my employment contract), and the chair of the disciplinary hearing (over his handling of the disciplinary process -- it is now 5 weeks since the hearing; after 4 weeks i called him to ask why i hadn't heard anything, he said "i'm waiting on more information and advice. HR are very busy at the moment" -- i thought his role was to hold the hearing to discuss the evidence, then make a decision based upon that evidence as swiftly as possible.
it seems that he has instead colluded with my manager to delay that decision, meanwhile my manager has been desperately trying to find some evidence to support a spurious charge falling under gross misconduct, in order to summarily dismiss me.

Ben Jones :

Hello and thank you for your question, which I will be happy to assist you with. You are allowed to take your own notes in a disciplinary hearing. It is a basic right to ensure accuracy and fairness. Whilst a note taker is likely to be present, you should be allowed to take your own notes and challenge the inaccuracy of any of the notes that were made by the note taker. Before the notes of the meeting are finalised you should also be given the opportunity to check them and agree them. That is when you would compare your own notes with them. As to recording the disciplinary, that could be disallowed by a workplace policy. However, there has been case law that suggests even if an employee secretly records a meeting they could be allowed to use the recording as evidence in court

Customer:

thankyou very much.

Customer:

i intend to overtly record the meeting, with the chair's consent. if that consent is refused, i may still attempt to record it, but will definitely be taking my own notes today.

Ben Jones :

An important case in this situation is that of Dogherty v Chairman and Governors of Amwell School. Mrs Dogherty made a claim for unfair dismissal and, in the course of the case, it emerged that she had made a secret recording of both the "open" disciplinary meeting and the "private" appeal meeting. Her contract of employment did not expressly forbid secret recordings of meetings. She was allowed to use the recording of the open disciplinary meeting but not the confidential appeal hearing held behind closed doors


 

Customer:

that is excellent! i'll probably have a bunch of follow-up questions after today's hearing, but for now, many thanks!

Customer:

neither my contract of employment, nor the company's disciplinary code (or whatever they call it!) certainly do not expressly forbid either personal note-taking or recording.

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