Question 112: When there is a labour dispute, and the case is brought to a competent court, is the evidence the parties collect and provide including the recording of the meeting contents, phone conversations, phone messages accepted by the court?

As regulated[1], readable, audible, visible and electronic materials are considered to be legitimate sources of evidence. However, for the involved parties, when necessary, to use and submit to the competent court as evidence to defend their own views in the dispute, the sources of evidence, in addition to their clear contents related to the dispute, must meet certain conditions in terms of form as stipulated in Article 95 of the Civil Procedure Code. In particular:

  • For audio-visual materials regarded as evidence if presented together with a written statement on their origin by the material owner if they recorded sounds or images, or a written confirmation by the person who supplied the presenter with the source of such materials or the statement relating to that audio-visual recording; and

From the said provisions, the recorded audio or video tapes or telephone messages presented by the parties during dispute settlement in general and labour dispute in particular will not be regarded as evidence approved by the court, unless they meet the said form conditions. Specifically, in a case of labour dispute, phone messages and emails messages exchanged between Employers and Employees will be valid as evidence if the phone messages and emails are sent from the email accounts or phone numbers themselves of Employers and Employees.

For tapes of the content of meetings, phone conversations, these recording tapes will be considered legal evidence if the involved party presents along with the working minutes on the specific content of the recording tape (meeting minutes on dealing with LD, working minutes on the evaluation of Employees regularly failing to complete the work etc.) with signatures of all the parties; written confirmation of the parties on the recording; or parties acknowledging before the court the voices in the recording tape are theirs, or acknowledging the exchange content in the tape is true etc. Where Employees or Employers arbitrarily do recording without providing any written confirmation on its origin or relating to that recording, the tapes recording the contents of the meetings and phone conversations will not be recognised by the Court as legal evidence, instead only evaluated as a reference in the hearing process.

It should be noted, however, that for labour disputes involving the unilateral termination of LCs or handling of LD by Employers in breach of the law, the obligation to justify belongs to Employers regardless of that Employees are the plaintiff in the proceedings[3]. Thus, although tapes on the content of meetings and phone conversations provided by Employees to the court (if any) may not be considered evidence due to lack of written confirmation on their origin in accordance with the law as aforesaid, in the final analysis, the existence of such recording tapes does not change the burden of proof in this case. In accordance with the law, Employers will still be the party legally obliged to prove the decision to terminate LCs and/or decision to handle LD.

[1]Article 94.1 Civil Procedure Code

[2]Article 14.2 Law on Electronic Transactions

[3]Article 91.1 (b) Civil Procedure Code