In light of the arrest of a South Carolina government employee for tape recording a conversation between co-workers, I thought I'd discuss a question I'm asked all the time in my law practice: Can I record a conversation with my employer?
Unfortunately, there's no easy answer to this question, and a mistake
can land you in jail. Illegal tape recording can have both criminal and
civil penalties. The employee in South Carolina faces up to five years
in prison and a $5,000 fine. My advice is almost always: When in doubt,
Still, many employees want to record a boss or HR at work, and there are good reasons to do so. If you have a sexual harasser,
it's handy to catch them red-handed. It's hard to deny something a
judge or jury can hear in the harasser's own voice. Some employees want
to record meetings with HR to make sure they get all the important
information or to have evidence of the reason given for termination or
discipline. Other employees want to get evidence of discrimination or other illegal practices of the employer.
If you want to know more about recording conversations at work, read my AOL Jobs article here.
Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly. If you want to communicate with me confidentially as Donna Ballman, Florida lawyer rather than as Donna Ballman, blogger, my firm's website is here.