If a state agency records conversations on work telephones, are they legally required to disclose this to the employees who use those telephones?

Can they record telephone calls in secret without the knowledge of the employees?

Asked on May 26, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Hawaii


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is most likely illegal for your employer to do this. Hawaii is what's known as a "one-party consent" state; that means that if one of the people/parties to a telephone call wants to record it, he or she can do so without notice to or the consent of anyone else on the call. However, if no one actually on the call (e.g. the employee; or the client/customer) is aware of the recording, there would be no consent to it and it would seem to violate wiretapping laws. An exception would be if the employee signed anything (e.g a copy of an employee handbook) indicating that calls may be recorded and they consent to that; or if whenever an employee takes or makes a call on the employer's phone line, there is a message stating that "calls may be recorded" which is played for the participants in the call--in that instance, continuing to make the call after the announcement could be taken to be consent to recording.

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