Conversations in today’s workplace can be easily and discreetly recorded. However, is it legal to record a conversation with your employer without his or her knowledge? The answer depends on your state’s laws and whether your employer has a policy that bans employees from recording conversations.
One-Party Consent States
Most states are “one-party consent” states, which means that recordings are permitted as long as just one party to the conversation consents to the recording. The party consenting to the recording can be the one recording it. The person recording the conversation must be a party to it. The one-party consent standard is also the federal standard.
Minnesota is a one-party consent state. Under Minnesota statute, it is legal “to intercept a . . . oral communication where such person is a party to the communication or where one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception unless such communication is intercepted for the purpose of committing any criminal or tortious act in violation of the constitution or laws of the United States or of any state.” In other words, an employee in Minnesota can record a conversation with his or her employer without the employer’s knowledge as long as the employee is a party to the conversation and there is no criminal or tortious intent.
All-Party Consent States
A minority of states take a different approach that requires the consent of all parties to the conversation prior to recording it. These are referred to as “all-party consent” states. California, Pennsylvania, and Illinois are examples of states that fall under this category.
Some companies have policies that prohibit employees from recording workplace conversations. Such a policy means that even if you work in a one-party consent state, you could be subject to discipline if you record a conversation with your employer without his or her knowledge. Before recording a conversation with your employer, find out if your company has a policy banning employees from recording conversations.