HR Dilemma: Recording the telephone calls of your staff

  • Employment Law
Peninsula Logo

Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

I would like to record the telephone calls of our staff to ensure quality service however one of my employees opposes it stating that it is unlawful. Is this the case and can I record phone calls? 

Generally, employers need the consent of employees before they can lawfully monitor communications at work e.g. telephone conversations, email, internet use etc.

Without this consent, listening to your employees’ telephone calls is likely to be a breach of data protection legislation.

The usual method adopted by employers to overcome this is simply to inform staff that monitoring of this kind will take place so that an expectation is placed with them that this will happen.

This is best done in a formal manner and in writing to avoid any confusion or claims by the employees that they had not been made aware of your intention. The formal method can be done in a couple of ways.

One is by including a clause in employees’ contracts of employment which states that certain communications undertaken by the employee during the course of their work will be monitored.

Another method is to implement a broad communications policy, for example, that sets out the company’s general intentions and expectations around all methods of communication. This could also include your expected standards of behaviour in relation to the use of telephones, internet etc.

It is best to set out the reason why you want to monitor calls. This is of more significant importance if you allow your staff to use their work phones for private conversations whilst at work. If this is the case, you will have no method of distinguishing whether a call is for work purposes or a private call until you listen to some of the call.

Where this happens, you should ensure that you cease listening as soon as you realise that the call is a private one. Otherwise, you can simply tell your staff that they may no longer use their work phones for private purposes. Having a non-recorded phone line enables your employees to have a private conversation in rare emergency circumstances, but you should make sure your consent is given first before the phone is used. 

Contact Peninsula online for advice on this issue, or call us on 0844 892 2772 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Related articles

  • a young construction worker wearing PPE checking their phone


    Peninsula GroupHR and Health & Safety Experts
    • Business Advice
  • Someone pushing a trolley through a supermarket aisle


    Inflation falls to 8.7% but food prices remain high

    The rate of inflation dropped to 8.7% in April from 10.1% the previous month, the largest fall in inflation since the Bank of England began raising interest rates in 2021

    Peninsula GroupHR and Health & Safety Experts
    • Business Advice
  • A man in a wheelchair shaking hands with someone sat on their desk


    Was it discriminatory to not increase pay while on pay protection scheme?

    The employment tribunal had to decide whether it was an act of disability discrimination to fail to give a pay rise to an employee who was receiving guaranteed pay of 75% of salary during extended sickness absence.

    Peninsula GroupHR and Health & Safety Experts
    • Business Advice
Back to resource hub

Try Peninsula for free today

See for yourself why Peninsula is the UK’s favourite HR and health & safety provider. Tap below to unlock free advice, policies, e-learning, and more.

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest news & tips that matter most to your business in our monthly newsletter.

International sites

© 2023 Peninsula Business Services Limited. Registered Office: The Peninsula, Victoria Place, Manchester, M4 4FB. Registered in England and Wales No: 1702759. Peninsula Business Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the sale of non-investment insurance contracts.

ISO 27001 and 9001 accredited company.
The Sunday Times - Top Track 250.
Glassdoor 2018 Best Places To Work.