On Friday, I talked to over 150 attendees of our Labor & Employment seminar about workplace surveillance and monitoring.
Some of the discussion focused on whether employers can do the recording; but what about employees?
This is not some theoretical question. More and more employees are recording conversations at their workplaces on smartphones, according to recent articles.
If you do a search on the Internet, you’re likely to discover that Connecticut is a “two-party” state when it comes to recording telephone conversations.
What does that mean? In plain English, it means that both parties to a phone conversation must consent to the recording for it to be legal. You can read the law (Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 52-570d) for yourself here.
But if you read these materials, you’ll also see that the vast majority of them say that Connecticut is a two-party statement when it comes to all communications.
Unfortunately, don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.
For ordinary, in-person communications, Connecticut is a one-party state — meaning that only one party’s consent is needed to record a conversation. (You can find the law regarding eavesdropping at Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 53a-189.)
What does this mean in the workplace? It means that your employees can legally record conversations with their bosses and then try to use those communications as evidence to prove a discrimination claim or another employment-related claim.
Employers can set up reasonable rules in the workplace prohibiting the taping of conversations and tell employees that they cannot record it, but that only means that the records violate theemployer’s rules, not Connecticut law.
And what this also means is that the employee cannot record a conversation between two other people; one party must always consent to the conversation.
The takeaway for employers, though, in Connecticut is a simpler one: Assume that your conversations with your employees can be recorded.
Are you comfortable about what has transpired if those conversations ever get leaked to TMZ.com? If not, then use this post a wake-up call.
Of course, there are other laws that may apply as well and it’s questionable whether an claim for invasion of privacy might be able to proceed, so before you tackle this subject, talk with your preferred counsel about all the implications on a complex subject.