Belfast council warns staff face sack if they secretly record meetings
BELFAST City Council has warned staff they face being sacked if they covertly record meetings or conversations with colleagues.
In an email to workers, the council's head of human resources said such recordings "should cease with immediate effect".
Paddy Murray said most formal meetings are already officially documented "by a note-taker or, in some limited circumstances, by tape recorder", and there are procedures by which staff can request copies of these records.
"However, it is becoming increasingly common for employees to record meetings and conversations with their managers and colleagues covertly, using mobile recording devices and more importantly, without their knowledge or agreement," he said.
Mr Murray said this is "strongly discouraged by Belfast City Council", warning of the "damaging impact this practice will have upon relations between colleagues".
"Employees should be mindful of the breach of trust and confidence of their colleagues when they choose to make such recordings," he said.
"In certain circumstances, therefore, making covert recordings of conversations or meetings with council colleagues will be regarded as gross misconduct and employees undertaking this practice will be subject to formal disciplinary proceedings which could lead to dismissal."
Belfast City Council said the email, which was sent late last month, is separate from its whistleblowing policy.
It said the email followed a request from line managers for guidance on how to deal with staff recording conversations and meetings without prior consent.
A spokesman added: "Belfast City Council has robust best practice policies and procedures in place, including a staff grievance procedure and a whistleblowing procedure, to ensure staff are encouraged and appropriately supported in highlighting concerns, and to ensure that these concerns are properly investigated and addressed."