Over the last eight years, the proliferation of smartphones has led to an increase in employees recording meetings with management. The majority of smartphones now have built-in recording applications, making recording a meeting as easy as pressing a button and keeping the phone in your pocket.
Employees are now using their smartphones to record both formal and informal meetings, including the morning chats you have with them by the water cooler.
So does this mean you have to allow your employees to record disciplinary meetings? The short answer is “no”, unless you have agreed to such right in the employee’s contract of employment or your workplace policies.
If you want to maintain your right to determine who, when and what may be recorded during a disciplinary meeting, we recommend your policies make it clear that you, in your absolute discretion, determine how disciplinary meetings are to be conducted. An example of a disciplinary procedure is shown below.
Example Disciplinary Procedure
Informal counselling, or other similar good management practice, is our preferred method for resolving performance and disciplinary issues.
However, there may be occasions when we determine that counselling is not appropriate and proceed directly formal disciplinary action.
Counselling is an attempt to correct a situation and prevent it from getting worse without having to commence formal disciplinary action.
If informal counselling does not result in the improvement required then we may decide to progress to the formal “improvement required” process. If such progression occurs the employee should be given clear guidelines as to:
our expectations in relation to performance or behaviour; and
the time frame in which such our expectations should be met.
If at any time during the “improvement required” stage the issue may be progressed to the formal disciplinary procedure.
There are occasions when the integrity or efficiency of a workplace investigation requires one or more employees to be removed from the workplace pending an investigation. By way of example, this could be deemed necessary by us to allow a ‘cooling down period’ for one or more employees, or to prevent an employee from influencing, or being influenced by, others, or to prevent interference with evidence.
If it is deemed necessary for an investigation to be undertaken, arrangements will be made for it to be undertaken by a person or persons, and in a manner and time frame, as determined by the employer in the employer’s absolute discretion.
Following the workplace investigation the employer, in the employer’s absolute discretion, may decide to:
take no further action against the employee;
recommend counselling for the employee;
issue the employee with a “show cause” letter; or
If at any time the employer believes an employee’s performance or behaviour is not to the standard the employer expects, the employer may issue the employee with a show cause letter.
A show cause letter will set out: the concerns the employer has; and, the details as to when and how the employee may provide his or her submissions to the employer as to why the employee’s employment should not be terminated.