Rebecca Richardson, Associate at BAL Lawyers, spoke about secret recordings in the workplace. In particular, secret recordings made by employees.

Employees take secret recordings for a number of different reasons. Primarily we see employees doing this to ‘collect evidence’ for future litigation.

The law in the ACT

It is unlawful to record private conversations in the workplace, unless:

  • it is permissible under law;
  • it is unintentional;
  • both parties’ consent; or
  • the other party does not consent but:
    • the act is necessary to protect the recording parties’ legal interests; or
    • the conversation is not going to be communicated to others.

Lawful but not acceptable

Even though secret recordings are lawful in some circumstances, the act is not viewed favourably by the Fair Work Commission. Secret recordings, even lawful recordings, strike at the heart of the employment relationship. The commission has repeatedly characterised the act as ‘sneaky’ and ‘abhorrent’ and consider that it can be a ground for dismissal, or at least a reason not to reinstate the person to their former position.

Our next HR Breakfast Club will be held on Friday 21 February 2020. Gabrielle Sullivan will be presenting on ‘How and when to conduct a workplace investigation’ and we look forward to seeing you then.