Tape recording a conversation can make the difference in proving a workplace allegation or case.  With it, your word is more believable than another’s.

But too many employees incorrectly assume the ends of proof justify the means of tape recording.  It may even be criminally wrong.

A felony and a civil wrong may be committed by taping a person’s conversation if there is a reasonable “expectation of privacy.”

That means you can keep phone messages left for you or tape record statements made in a group setting, or tape record if you have announced you are doing so.  You can even record a conversation at a restaurant if other people can overhear you at the next table.

As a last resort, you can always record your end of a phone conversation, which will also be confirmed by phone recordings.

Tape recordings can be very useful, but only if done lawfully.

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Don D. Sessions, a Mission Viejo attorney, author and law school professor, helps employees enforce their rights.

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