search Inloggen search Registreren

Jouw profiel

Registreren Inloggen



Personelle Today

april 10, 2024


Beware of Quit-Tok, the trend for filming ‘bad news’ meetings

With so many meetings now taking place on screens, it is inevitable that awkward workplace conversations such as dismissals are being covertly recorded then posted online via platforms such as TikTok. Harriet Willis and Anna West from law firm Travers Smith warn of the damage Quit-Tok can cause.


A new trend, Quit-Tok, has emerged: employees – mostly from Gen Z – are taking to the social media site TikTok to release covertly filmed resignation meetings and dismissals. This follows the past few years’ trend of “quiet quitting” where employees encourage others to, like them, do as little work as possible, but just enough not to be fired.


It is nothing new that disgruntled employees take to the internet to complain about working conditions and air their grievances. Glassdoor, for example, has been around since 2007. What is new, however, is that in a bid to be #relatable, these employees are not posting anonymously; they are seemingly filming their colleagues without knowledge or consent. Also new is the startlingly viral nature of the content: some of these posts are reaching millions of viewers. The question is, what can employers do to protect their business and their employees?


Although these videos have the potential to encourage transparency in the corporate world, there is an obvious reputational risk for businesses which become the latest viral internet sensation. For example, one content creator, Brittany Pietsch, filmed her redundancy meeting in which she was told by HR that she had not met the required performance standards, but could not get answers to her questions because her manager was not present on the call. The CEO later apologised on X for “not being more kind and humane”.


Filming in this way potentially exposes businesses that have not followed proper legal process, or have delivered difficult news insensitively and without adequate preparation. But it’s also the case that businesses are unable to put forward their side of the story including the wider context leading up to the meetings.


Also, there is potential for individuals to edit clips to put the business in a negative light. Although so far these recordings have centred around resignations and dismissals, it would be possible for an employee to record a confidential investigation meeting into the behaviour of another employee, presenting accusations against that employee as fact, when the detail has not yet been properly investigated.


Tribunal risk


A further angle to consider is that an employee might seek to use any such recording as evidence in an employment tribunal. While employers can only use covert recordings in limited circumstances, the hurdle for employees using such footage is much lower. Case law has established that secret recordings by employees may be admissible if relevance can be shown, although this will always ultimately be a decision for the employment tribunal (and genuine without prejudice discussions would not usually be admissible).


Any letters written to employees inviting them to confidential meetings should be clear that the meeting should be kept confidential.”



So, what can employers do to reduce the risk of their HR meetings ending up on social media?


First, consider having meetings in person where possible, with a manager and HR member present. It would be difficult for an employee to film this sort of meeting covertly and this approach would have the added benefit that it is kinder to have these conversations face to face.


Where a meeting is to be held virtually, the employer is entitled to ask the employee at the start of these meeting not to record it but should be clear and consistent on their own policy on recording meetings. For example, does the employer make its own recording which it then shares with the employee, or does it create a transcript, or rely on notes taken at the meeting?


Social media policies


Employers should ensure their workplace policies and handbooks are up to date to capture situations like this. Social media policies should make it clear that employees are not permitted to put business information on social media and should not share details of confidential discussions or internal meetings online. Employers should ensure that all employees understand their obligations under data protection laws. It would be prudent to ensure that data protection policies expressly cover the handling of personal data of employees and the fact that internal processes should not be shared externally, particularly where sensitive personal data is involved.


Grievance and disciplinary policies could state that recording meetings is not permitted and that posting such meetings online would be regarded as gross misconduct. Any letters written to employees inviting them to confidential meetings should be clear that the meeting should be kept confidential and information regarding the meetings (including their existence) should not be shared with anyone other than close family members (unless employees are required to share such information by law).


Employers could also point employees to the appropriate whistleblowing forums and encourage employees to come to HR or their manager directly if they have an issue so that there is an opportunity for the employer to remedy the situation where possible.


Breach of confidentiality


If an employee does post a recording of a meeting on social media, then the employer may be justified in summarily dismissing them for breach of confidentiality obligations without notice or notice pay. Even if the damage has been done to some extent, the fact that the employee faces consequences could help to deter others from doing the same. However, summary dismissal may not be advisable if there were any concerns about how the meeting had been handled, as this may inflame the situation and potentially worsen any reputational damage. It could also give rise to allegations of whistleblowing or victimisation by the employee in some circumstances.


Ultimately, the most important step of all is to ensure that managers and HR teams have sufficient training and are well prepared for difficult meetings so that everything is done legally, professionally and with empathy. If possible, the individual’s manager should be present, and anyone in the meeting should be well equipped to answer any questions the employee might have. In some of the Quit-Tok videos, managers come off surprisingly well. For example, when TikTok user “Darby” resigned from her job, her manager expresses regret that she is leaving, but excitement for her journey ahead.


Looking to the positives, in an increasingly digital world, this trend may help employers to think more carefully about the person “behind the screen” when delivering difficult messages.


What's your reaction ?

Comments (0)

No reviews found