Policy News Journal - 2014-15

originally considered Reed’s arrangements, it had not been given a full picture by the company of how they worked.

Ruth Owen, Director General Personal Tax, HMRC, said:

“This case shows that HMRC is determined to ensure everyone pays their fair share of tax to fund vital public services. The department has used every method at its disposal to secure the tax due, and its position on the case has now been backed by two courts.”

Caution to employers during ‘private’ conversations at disciplinary meetings

28 April 2014

Covert recordings of discussions at grievance and disciplinary were held as admissible as evidence in tribunal claim.

Pinsent Masons looks at a recent case in which an employee's covert recordings of both public and private discussions at her grievance and disciplinary hearings were held to be admissible as evidence in her subsequent tribunal claim. Highlighted at the end of this summary is what this means for employers. Admissibility of evidence Tribunals have wide discretion to determine what will be admissible at tribunal (generally that which is relevant to the issue being determined). However, even relevant evidence may be excluded on certain grounds, one of which is that the evidence should be excluded on public policy grounds. Other examples may include where the evidence has been disclosed late in the proceedings or, if admitted into evidence, would be in breach of Human Rights law, e.g. the right to privacy. In this case, Punjab National Bank (International) Ltd v Gosain (EAT) the evidence in question was covert recordings that the employee, Ms Gosain (G) had made of her disciplinary and grievance hearings with her employer, Punjab National Bank (International) Ltd (P). G attended both a grievance hearing and a disciplinary hearing. G secretly recorded both the hearings and the panel's private deliberations when she had been asked to leave the room. When G later resigned and brought a tribunal claim against P, she sought to rely on the recordings as evidence in support of her claim. The recordings were very damning and included wholly inappropriate and personal comments made about G as well as comments by P's Managing Director during G's grievance hearing, instructing that G be dismissed and stating that he was deliberately skipping the key issues raised in the Claimant’s grievance letter, namely that she was not being allowed a proper lunch break and issues around her pregnancy. P unsurprisingly sought to exclude these recordings from evidence. However, an employment judge found that the recordings were admissible and the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) upheld this decision. We previously reported on the case of Chairman and Governors of Amwell View School v Dogherty in which it was decided that only the parts of an employee's covert recordings where the employee was present can be admitted as evidence. The EAT held that there was an important public interest in parties before disciplinary and appeal proceedings complying with the “ground rules” upon which the proceedings in question are based. The understanding that such deliberations would be conducted in private and remain confidential was held to be essential in ensuring a full and frank discussion between those tasked with making a decision.

CIPP Policy News Journal

08/04/2015, Page 104 of 521

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