Should you secretly tape conversations with your boss?

Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman...

Posted: Aug 14, 2018 6:17 PM
Updated: Aug 14, 2018 6:17 PM

Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman claimed she recorded her firing by White House chief of staff John Kelly and a subsequent call with President Donald Trump.

She's not the first person to record workplace conversations.

But recording someone without their consent isn't always legal. And there are other reasons why making a secret recording might not be such a good idea.

Recording in the office can make sense: you want a record for meeting minutes, you need to review details later or you may even want evidence of harassment or discrimination.

But make sure you're familiar with local laws, which differ by state, first.

Most states are considered one-party consent states, which means only one person in a conversation needs to be aware of the recording. So if you decide you want to record a meeting with your boss, you are legally cleared to do that.

But some states are all-party consent states, including California and Florida, that require all members of a conversation to give permission.

"If you want to be 100% sure you aren't breaking the law, you stick the recording device on top of the desk, hit record and ask: 'do you mind if I tape this?'" said Donna Ballman, an employee-side employment attorney in Florida.

Related: The right way to quit your job

No matter what state you live in, you cannot record conversations that you aren't participating in.

But just because you can legally record a conversation, doesn't mean you should. Some companies have policies against recording in the workplace, which means you can get fired even if you get the legally required consent.

If you have a legal recording that proves you were wrongfully fired and a court rules in your favor, the company can then turn around and try to fire you for the recording if it's banned in the policy handbook, explained Kristin Alden, an employment attorney in Washington, D.C.

"It's like cutting off your nose to spite your face," said Alden. "You can do yourself a disservice if you record when you shouldn't be recording."

Having a recording of alleged illegal behavior in the workplace can help in workplace lawsuits, especially in cases of sexual harassment and discrimination.

"In most of these situations, it's your word against theirs, and the accuser is almost never believed. It is only when there is proof," said Ballman.

Ballman said she's heard of a worker calling a friend and having her on the phone to listen in on a conversation at work when she saw her harasser coming toward her office.

"Having a witness to the conversation is certainly helpful."

Generally speaking, there is no expectation of privacy in the workplace (but there are exceptions).

Employers can access information and data on any work-issued phones and computers. Even your desk can be searched.

"All text and phone calls are fair game for the employer if it is on their phone. Your computer, most workplaces have written policies or even notices that pop up on your screen saying you have no expectation of privacy," said Alden.

West Lafayette
Broken Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 76°
Kokomo
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 69°
Rensselaer
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 64°
Fowler
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 64°
Williamsport
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 69°
Crawfordsville
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 68°
Frankfort
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 66°
Delphi
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 70°
Monticello
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 70°
Logansport
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 64°
Warm-up again with increasing humidity & risk of storms.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 75862

Reported Deaths: 3069
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16088730
Lake7688278
Elkhart492685
Allen4002163
St. Joseph357883
Hamilton2829104
Vanderburgh202213
Hendricks1927108
Cass18029
Johnson1789119
Porter135539
Clark128749
Tippecanoe123811
Madison100665
LaPorte93130
Howard91365
Kosciusko86812
Bartholomew81747
Floyd80948
Marshall79323
Monroe76631
Delaware74552
Dubois70812
Vigo69911
Noble68829
Boone68746
Hancock68339
Jackson5965
Warrick58830
Shelby56527
LaGrange56310
Grant52930
Dearborn51228
Morgan49334
Clinton4444
Henry40620
Wayne38510
White37611
Montgomery35921
Lawrence35227
Harrison34823
Decatur34132
Putnam3128
Daviess27720
Miami2772
Scott27210
Jasper2552
Greene25434
Franklin24615
DeKalb2384
Gibson2314
Jennings22712
Steuben2133
Ripley2138
Carroll1962
Fayette1947
Perry18713
Posey1790
Starke1787
Wells1742
Orange17424
Fulton1722
Wabash1703
Jefferson1672
Knox1610
Whitley1556
Tipton14312
Washington1421
Sullivan1381
Spencer1373
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1244
Newton12010
Adams1092
Owen991
Jay920
Rush854
Pulaski811
Fountain742
Brown741
Blackford652
Ohio656
Benton640
Pike590
Vermillion580
Switzerland530
Parke511
Martin480
Crawford450
Union410
Warren241
Unassigned0206

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events