10 Mar Covert recordings may be admissable in court
It may be true to say that from time to time we have all lost our temper with a domestic member of staff: a housekeeper, carer or a nanny, and, in the heat of the moment, perhaps spoken in an intemperate manner. Nothing new there, you say, but you are wrong; there IS something new and VERY important.
Here’s an example:
The carer you have employed for your elderly relative hasn’t been giving the degree of attention you feel warranted, or perhaps, your housekeeper has forgotten an important date. You bring your guest home for dinner and find that nothing is ready. You are tired; it’s not perhaps the first time; you vent your anger, use inappropriate language that on another occasion you would never use and decide on the spur of the moment to end that person’s employment.
Or take another example:, as a man you overstep the mark in your relationship with a female domestic staff member.
As a result you find yourself defending your position at an employment tribunal. But in both cases, you say, it’s their word against mine.
Not any more. Until now there has been a general acceptance that covert recordings were inadmissible in court. However in a recent employment tribunal, Mr. Justice Underhill pulled that rug from under your feet when he ruled that covert recordings are admissible.
Making the ruling, he said: “The law is now established that covert recordings are not inadmissible simply because the way in which they were taken may be regarded as discreditable.”
With today’s technology, a mobile phone can be used as a simple and hidden recording device which could easily catch you out in an unguarded moment.
The best advice is to think things through first before launching into a diatribe and don’t overstep the mark. Little brother is now listening to you!