Can I secretly tape conversations with my supervisor while at work?

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Can I secretly tape conversations with my supervisor while at work?

I am a UMWA member and want to get evidence for a possible grievance. I need to know if I can record all, some, or no conversations with my direct supervisor and/or her supervisor?

Asked on September 13, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New Mexico

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Some states are what is known as a "1-party consent" state, incluseding NM. This means if the person recording a conversation is a party to it, then the recording is legal. Conversely, if the person is not a party to the conversation, then such a recording would be illegal. The law does however make an exception for in-person communications in which the parties do not have a "reasonable expectation of privacy". So for example, it would be legal to record a conversation in a public place where it might reasonably be overheard.

Accordingly, where you are planning to record matters. If it is within your superviser's office make sure that you are a party to the conversation. If it is in the lunchroom then, arguably, they have no expectation of privacy; even if you're not a party to the conversation recording it would be legal.

But I would urge that you think before attempting any of this. Your employer might take a dim view of all this and it could be grounds for dismissal.


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