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WA Is Voice Recording a Team Meeting Illegal?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by flyer13, 12 October 2016.

  1. flyer13

    flyer13 Member

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    I was asked to attend a meeting with HR by my manager last week. One of the reasons of the meeting was that I wasn't following work policy that is in place. This is totally related to my profession, and has nothing to do with general company policy. It's just a certain rules around the project we work on.

    I also sent an email to him and the team last week. I copied it to his manager. I pointed out to him that some of the work he gave me has no solution, ie. they are impossible task. I also said to him that during my absence ( annual leave), this same task was not done the same way, as I was asked it should be done. Therefore, I thought this was unfair.

    He replied to me and basically lied that the work was done as I was told (same instructions) by a different team member. But, I confirmed in the email that this team member denied she did it in this specific way. Anyway, in a nutshell, I think this email is proof that he lied as the team member said what he said was untrue.

    So, I thought I would record the team meeting, as it is very hard to prove what he says or doesn't say. Someone saw me recording the meeting and reported it to HR. Soon, I got a warning letter with a few allegations against me, be it not following work policy, being rude to manager and that I have allegedly admitted that I used a mobile device to record conversations at a team meeting.

    It very much looks like I will be fired because of the voice recording, as they told me it is a breach of trust in the employment relationship and a breach of Code of Conduct. Someone in my team also told me recording without consent is illegal in WA.

    Anyone can provide some help on whether the voice recording is illegal? I would think it is legal but this would be enough to fire me though...
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Surveillance Devices Act 1998 (WA) (SD Act) is against you.

    However it refers to recording "a private conversation to which that person is a party" and also has an exception saying:

    .... does not apply to .... use, ... of a listening device by or on behalf of a person who is a party to a private conversation if a principal party to the private conversation consents expressly or impliedly to that installation, use, or maintenance and the installation, use, or maintenance is reasonably necessary for the protection of the lawful interests of that principal party.​

    Not sure if a team meeting in a business setting qualifies as a private conversation and I don't know if your circumstances fit the above exception.

    Whether or not the company can fire you for this act is debateable. You may have a claim for unfair dismissal despite their company policies if you are legitimately protecting your lawful interests. Keep in mind though the Fair Work Commission has a starting position that covert recording is not allowed and is a serious breach of trust. Meaning you would have the onus of proof to disprove the assumption.
     
  3. flyer13

    flyer13 Member

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    I was given a first and last warning letter today and a performance improvement plan... Glad with the outcome. The PIP will not be managed by my manager, someone else...

    I did some research on this recording. I think you are right Rod! In my case, I dont think it would have been unlawful. It could have been I am protecting my lawful interests against someone who is lying to me at work. Emails proved he is not telling the truth. But, I am not a lawyer, so I can't confirm.
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Good news.
     
  5. Victa

    Victa Member

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    Recording a meeting such as the one you mentioned without disclosure to the other parties is a breach of the code of conduct in my state. Informing all parties of your intention to record the meeting is lawful unless someone advises they do not wish to be recorded.

    Think of how you would feel if you found out HR had recorded that meeting without your knowledge and that would answer your question.

    Glad it turned out ok for you though!
     

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