Is it legal for an employer to place hidden microphones around a business in order to eavesdrop on the employees without their knowledge or consent?

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Is it legal for an employer to place hidden microphones around a business in order to eavesdrop on the employees without their knowledge or consent?

Asked on June 19, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

In 12 states, conversations cannot be recorded unless all parties to the conversation consent to it; however employers may be allowed to record conversations even in all-party-consent states under certain circumstances (see below). Further, it is quite probable that if your employer is recording you, it shoved a consent form into that giant stack of papers that you signed when you started working.

And in the majority of states, if only one party consents, the conversation can be recorded.

Federal law has exceptions for employers who obtain employee consent, and also for recording done for "legitimate business purposes".  Audio monitoring of the workplace is permitted; employers can install recording devices in any location that is used primarily for work. However, employers may not conduct audio recording of non-working areas such as cafeterias, break rooms, or locker rooms. Additionally, employers are not required to notify employees that they are being recorded and employees are unlikely to discover the hidden microphone.

 


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