Hypothetical situation: "Inaccurate" Minutes of Disciplinary...

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Ashley_Price

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Feb 9, 2008
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As it says in the title, this IS a hypothetical situation (no one I know is facing this situation), but I'd be interested in what the process is from an HR perspective, if the following occurs.

John is the subject of a disciplinary. He is interviewed by the HR person, and there is someone taking notes, to turn into Minutes after.

In a follow up meeting, John complains that the Minutes of the previous interview are inaccurate and he never said some of things stated in the Minutes, or what he did say had been twisted. (He goes on to say this proves the whole process is biased in the employer's favour as even the note taker was against him.)

What is the process in this case? Is John simply asked to state what parts are incorrect, or do they have to hold the original interview again?

Now, I realise John has to agree the Minutes, but let's assume he didn't and waited until the following meeting to bring up his grievances.
 

Newchodge

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Nov 8, 2012
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It is a very common situation. No-one, even the best short-hand taker (and there are few of them around these days), can take verbatim notes, they record their impression of what is said. Before being shared, management reads the minutes and makes any corrections that they think are needed. then the employee is, usually, entitled to make any amendments that they think are needed.

One of the issues with that is that making amendments to existing prose makes you use their structure - you change what is there, you don't write your impression, so the result may never reflect what the employee thinks was said.

The next issue is that, unless the employee has taken copious notes, they will be correcting from memory. It is impossible to take decent notes while fully participating in a meeting, which is why note takers are used.

Then you have the problem of the employee knowing what they meant to say, but it is very possible that, in the stress of the meeting they didn't say what they meant.

One of the employers where I was a union rep uggested recording all disciplinary meetings. I thought it was a great idea but all my union colleagues were aghast. My position was simple - management create the written record and will include anything the employee said, even if it was detrimental to the employee's case. Even if the employee denies saying it afterwards, so the only thing lost is the questionable ability to dent the wriutten record. A recording, on the other hand, accuarately records what was said, includes the nuances of what was said - so sarcasm, incredulity and so on become clear, and clearly shows the tone taken by management - investigative, bullying, angry etc.

In answer to your question, no, the investigation meeting would not be re-run. If the minutes cannot be agreed, they are used as 'unagreed' and the disciplinary hearing chooses how much weight to put on them.
 
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Ashley_Price

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Thanks, Cyndy, for that reply, that has been most helpful.

One of the employers where I was a union rep uggested recording all disciplinary meetings. I thought it was a great idea but all my union colleagues were aghast. My position was simple - management create the written record and will include anything the employee said,

I don't understand why any Manager would be against this - unless there is some nefarious reason why they don't want an accurate recording of the meeting. A recording ensures there's complete impartiality.

A recording, on the other hand, accuarately records what was said, includes the nuances of what was said - so sarcasm, incredulity and so on become clear, and clearly shows the tone taken by management - investigative, bullying, angry etc.

Funny that... I regularly transcribe audio recordings of HR meetings, like these for different HR departments and consultants. I would of course, always advocate audio recording a meeting (with the permission of all participants of course). ;)
 
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I have minuted many meetings over the years including disciplinary hearings. Very often after I have typed the minutes up the employee that has been subject of the hearing wants to make changes before agreeing to sign and date them. I allow them to change the typed document in pen/paper so they will then sign but I don't re-type. The document is then filed away. I never allow meetings to be recorded. A good minute taker should be able to catch the essential dialogue of a meeting.
 
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Newchodge

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I never allow meetings to be recorded. A good minute taker should be able to catch the essential dialogue of a meeting.

That's interesting. Why would you never allow meetings to be recorded? And do you think that 'the essential dialogue of a meeting' is enough?
 
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Ashley_Price

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@sjbeale I was going to ask the same question as Cyndy. What is your reasoning for not allowing meetings to be recorded?

Why do you prefer to rely on the Minute-taker's memory, over the accuracy of a recording?

Thanks to smartphones, meetings and interviews are being recorded surreptitiously, without people asking (or receiving) permission - this of course, opens up other legal issues. Although, we have been hired by solicitors to transcribe these sorts of recordings as well.
 
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KAC

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I sit on accountancy related regulatory panels and all proceedings are recorded. Transcripts are then produced in the event of an appeal or if a hearing is adjourned. Members are not given the option to refuse recording
 
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Ashley_Price

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I sit on accountancy related regulatory panels and all proceedings are recorded. Transcripts are then produced in the event of an appeal or if a hearing is adjourned. Members are not given the option to refuse recording

I believe that is against the law. The meeting can only be recorded if all participants agree. However, you might want to get this checked in case you are challenged about it.

I do transcripts of HR meetings (including disciplinary, grievance, appeals, etc.) for a major international airline and the HR person always informs the participants that the meeting is being recorded and checks they are all happy with this.
 
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KAC

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I believe that is against the law. The meeting can only be recorded if all participants agree. However, you might want to get this checked in case you are challenged about it.
.
It's a condition of membership that members agree to the disciplinary regulations which require tape recordings of hearings
 
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Mr D

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Have been in meetings that were later referenced where a recording would have been invaluable.
Including a disciplinary hearing I was apparently present at when I was not even in the room.
 
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Ashley_Price

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Feb 9, 2008
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Have been in meetings that were later referenced where a recording would have been invaluable.
Including a disciplinary hearing I was apparently present at when I was not even in the room.

Even recordings can be subject to abuse of course, "Mr D was in the room, he just didn't say anything." But there are ways around this.

I transcribe recordings of fraud investigation interviews, and the process they go through to ensure the recording is shown to be a truthful record is very strict. As well as giving the date and time, everyone in the room has to state their name and title. The interviewee is then asked to confirm there is no one else present. They confirm they were shown the CDs, used for the recording, which were new and weren't unwrapped until they were put into the CD writer. They are also asked confirm that nothing was discussed about the subject of the interview before the recording was started.
 
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Mr D

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Even recordings can be subject to abuse of course, "Mr D was in the room, he just didn't say anything." But there are ways around this.

I transcribe recordings of fraud investigation interviews, and the process they go through to ensure the recording is shown to be a truthful record is very strict. As well as giving the date and time, everyone in the room has to state their name and title. The interviewee is then asked to confirm there is no one else present. They confirm they were shown the CDs, used for the recording, which were new and weren't unwrapped until they were put into the CD writer. They are also asked confirm that nothing was discussed about the subject of the interview before the recording was started.


That's the thing, I think I would have remembered being pulled up for poor work at the same time I had the highest stats in the office - stats including work quality.
I was unaware of that disciplinary until after I had left the organisation and it was referenced in comments by the office manager.
The date it apparently happened I was in client interviews all day.
 
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Phil Winterson

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Sep 30, 2018
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Hi I read this post with the hope of some answers. I’m actually in a tribunal in 9 days time for UD and Discrinination. I had13 disciplinary hearings!! Sacked reinstated restarted process the lot. However all hand written notes were refused access to them typed and totally completely altered. I mean totally altered. Not even similar. All in favour of employer. I then requested hand written and told shredded. Went through DPA and ICO and got copies of most hearings and got the proof the hand written set are totally accurate. Things like yes we have discriminated against you and yes process unfair altered to we are clear we’ve not discriminated or been unfair. Even called note taker who admitted hand written then she typed and email management who altered. So got copies of her emails (same as hand written). I would of thought the judge will vie this very favourably to my case come the tribunal. I appreciate you can’t see the differences but trust me every single bit that helps me is removed or altered be interesting to ask what people’s opinion of how the tribunal will view this? Remember they refused me access to notes then claimed they were shredded then ICO forced them to hand over under dos.
 
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MBE2017

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Feb 16, 2017
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My understanding from similar situations where I was asked to be present as a supporter, was a recording is fine, but only if only a machine as used by the Police which records two tapes, where the management and person in the disciplinary both get an identical record of the meeting.

These machines cost a lot of money new, a single recording in this digital age can be altered as easily as notes, so smart phones etc do not produce the right format, no time stamping etc.
 
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Mr D

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My understanding from similar situations where I was asked to be present as a supporter, was a recording is fine, but only if only a machine as used by the Police which records two tapes, where the management and person in the disciplinary both get an identical record of the meeting.

These machines cost a lot of money new, a single recording in this digital age can be altered as easily as notes, so smart phones etc do not produce the right format, no time stamping etc.

In this digital age what is wrong with supplying the recording in digital format on a USB stick?
Record digitally, then immediately afterwards a copy made and handed over.
 
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