Is it legal for your employer to listen to your conversation at work?

Asked on July 15, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Do you mean by listening in to your phone call? In your state, only if all persons or parties on the call consented, or agreed to it. This consent could be found  from continuing to have the conversation after a clear announcment (e.g. during or at the start of the call) that the call "may be monitored or recorded"--hearing that warning but continuing to talk equals consent. But without consent, even of the type described above, listening in on the phone call--actually intercepting the call and/or recording it; i.e. having access to the "phone line" and using it--is wiretapping in your state, a potentially serious crime.

But if you mean can your boss simply stand near you, including out of sight behind a partition or around a corner, and listen to what you are saying out loud, then yes, that if legal. ANY person may listen to any conversation spoken in their presence, whether or not the speakers are aware they are listening or not. That's why you should never, in any even remotely public space, have any conversation you don't want heard.

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