As a state government employee, does my employer have the legal right to record my telephone calls?

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As a state government employee, does my employer have the legal right to record my telephone calls?

I work for the state of Hawaii in the Judiciary. As an employee, do I have the right to privacy when using the company telephone? Can my employer record or listen in on my phone conversations?

Asked on May 25, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Hawaii

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Absent a specific prohibtion regarding such action in an employment contract, union agreement or employment policy, state law will control. In some states and under certain circumstances recording someone's private telephone converstions without their permission is legal, in others it is not. However, there is something known as a "reasonable expectation of privacy". So, for example, if you have a conversation in a public place, it is reasonable that it may be overheard and therefore would not be considered to be private. In the workplace setting (a public setting), the general rule is that when using an employer's phone, computer, etc. there is expecation of privacy; therefore such conversations can be recorded without an employee's knowledge. Consequently (without more specifics of your case) your employer most probably has the legal right to record your calls.


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