5th September 2013
An employee calls in and says something to a colleague. It wasn’t particularly important – well that’s what they thought at the time. Something about not being paid correctly … or was it that their manager said something to them that they didn’t like. Anyway, your colleague was busy with payroll cut-off. They can’t really remember what he said, but you’re sure that the content of the grievance letter harking back to events three months ago can’t be true.
You’ve been away and in the meantime a manager held a redundancy consultation meeting without any HR presence. The redundancy was confirmed and the appeal letter alleges that the manager told the former employee that their age had nothing to do with their selection. You ask for the manager’s notes. “What notes?” comes the reply.
It’s good practice to take notes of any complaint, message or formal meeting. You never know when something may come back to haunt you. If you’ve taken a contemporaneous note, you’ll be far better placed to respond to an employee’s allegations.
Top tip this week is a reminder (if you hadn’t already guessed) to always keep a good note (not necessarily verbatim) of what is said. Do remember that an employee would be entitled to receive a copy of any notes taken – either in response to a data protection subject access request or as part of disclosure in Tribunal proceedings.
Supplementary top tip: don’t doodle on your notes (whether interview notes or otherwise) as it may give the impression that the notetaker hasn’t been entirely focussed on the content of the meeting!
Finally, I recall acting for an employee client and receiving a copy of notes of a redundancy consultation meeting from the employer (as part of disclosure) on which had been scribbled “Remember, she’s pregnant” – the case settled soon after.
The contents of this update are intended as guidance for readers. It can be no substitute for specific advice. Consequently we cannot accept responsibility for this information, errors or matters affected by subsequent changes in the law, or the content of any website referred to in this update. © Mundays LLP 2013.
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Andrew Knorpel reviews the busy last few weeks of employment-related cases heard by The Court of Appeal