PEOPLE GO: OFF THE RECORD
Confidential discussions about an employee's performance have to be
handled carefully - or could backfire.
As an employer, you may sometimes want to talk to your employees "off
the record". For example, you may have an employee who has been
performing poorly recently. Ideally, you do not want to go through any
performance improvement procedure but you are prepared to pay them to
leave. You decide to have a chat "off the record". If they take the
If they don't, well, you can always follow the correct procedure and no
harm done, right? Wrong: in fact, you could land yourself in a lot of
An "open" conversation with a “resign or be dismissed” ultimatum would
allow the employee to claim constructive dismissal.
If the poor performance issues have not been put to, and not accepted
by, the employee there is no dispute and there can therefore be no
“without prejudice” discussion. Even if the discussion is “without
prejudice”, the employee will be able to rely on any discriminatory
comment made during the discussion in any subsequent claim of
The best and safest course of action is to complete the poor
performance procedure and only then embark on any “without prejudice”
discussion or, at the very least, follow the open procedures
concurrently with any “without prejudice” discussions.
meetings with staff
should be recorded and you should never have a staff meeting alone –
whether it is an interview, appraisal or disciplinary meeting. HR2all
provides procedures to follow when conducting these types of meetings.