Grievance Filed on Surreptitious Recording of Committee Proceedings

The Faculty Association has filed a grievance against the employer for surreptitiously audio-recording collegial committee meetings and deliberations.

The recording was done without the knowledge and/or the consent of the members of the collegial committee, which did not have written procedures in place regarding the recording of deliberations.

The surreptitious nature of the recording is particularly troubling because our members have been disciplined for recording conversations without the consent of the participants. In that context, recording conversations without the knowledge and consent of those being recorded was considered improper and inappropriate workplace conduct. The employer’s rationale for discipline was that such conduct seriously damages collegial relationships in an academic workplace, including the principles of the free exchange of ideas, trust and honesty that are core to any university and in particular to the University of Saskatchewan.

While it is not illegal for someone who is a party to the conversation to record it, the mere fact of being recorded can cause discomfort and may very well have the unwanted consequence of impeding a full and frank discussion of the merits of a case.

Article 15.12 (xiii) of our collective agreement requires the proceedings of the Renewals and Tenure Appeal Committee to be recorded, for committee purposes only. The Promotions Appeal Committee uses the same procedures.

Our Collective Agreement is very clear that the various collegial committees are to determine their own operating procedures provided they are consistent with the terms of the Agreement. The position of the Association is that the committee as a whole must determine if audio-recordings of its proceedings are necessary. The chair of a committee cannot unilaterally declare that collegial committee proceedings will be recorded. Should a committee determine that the proceedings may be recorded, it must so inform the candidate and record all proceedings. It is recommended that committees also determine how long the record will be kept.