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NT Employment Law - Does HR Have the Right to Document Informal Chats?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by Graystar, 14 December 2015.

  1. Graystar

    Graystar Member

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    Hi,

    Recently had a meeting with my manager and the operations manager. It was informal - just me wanting to vent and get some clarity on a few things that have been undermanaged, in my opinion of late. No formal complaint, no approach to HR to orchestrate the meeting. I have accessed the Employee Assistance Program offered to us for some external assistance with how I am dealing with stressors in the workplace of late, but again, not accessed through HR and no formal approach to HR by me at all.

    Work got back to me that the HR manager requested a rundown of the conversation that had been between myself, my manager and the operations manager. Does HR have any right to ask for details of contents of meetings held in this manner? If so, what is stopping HR from documenting every conversation workers have at any point about any topic?

    I am quite angry that the HR has done this. They seem to wish to document everything, making informal chats very formal by documenting them and keeping a 'file' on employees even when the employee has had nothing to do with HR at all.

    Any clarity on whether HR is out of line under Employment Law would be of great value.

    Respectfully
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    I am not aware of any specific rules or laws in this regard, however unless you make known to the person to whom you are talking, that the conversation is private and confidential they have the right to reconvey information about it. My suggestion would be to simply be careful who you talk to if it is sensitive and make it clear that your conversation is confidential.
     
  3. Graystar

    Graystar Member

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    Hi Sophea,

    Thanks for your reply.

    What is most strange about the whole situation is that HR approached another person for the information. It was a completely 'third party' approach. I engaged in a meeting with two colleagues, and then after that meeting, HR approached one (or both) of those colleagues and asked for a copy of the meeting content.

    There were no notes taken; it was just me seeking clarity on where we're headed and how we're going to get there. HR could not have known the content, and their approach is most inappropriate and out of line. If they can request info on something this innocuous, then they can request info on any conversation held over lunch or in passing.
     
  4. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    It's not really a matter of whether they can or not. It's whether (a) it's contrary to your company policy (if they have one) (b) your co-workers will be bullied into repeating every detail of their conversations with you (c) what consequences will follow refusal to comply with their requests for information and (d) specifically whether they will take unwarranted disciplinary action against the persons who refuse to divulge the content of private or confidential conversations. Perhaps to an extent, it could be sorted out by you in a meeting with your HR manager.
     
  5. Graystar

    Graystar Member

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    Indeed.

    I am inclined to request a meeting to discuss on what basis HR saw fit to seek clarity on the meeting content.

    On a pragmatic level, I am not concerned as there is no problem with my performance, and I have had no disciplinary or another contact with HR since starting here 2.5 years ago. The details of the meeting would be rather run of the mill to be honest. It's the 'why THAT conversation' that gets me.

    Thanks again for your input and feedback. It is much appreciated.
     
  6. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    No worries
     

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