With the flurry of news stories involving secret recordings that have come out in recent weeks and months, many employees have understandable concerns about whether or not it is legal to make “secret” recordings in their own workplaces. This is a complicated issue, because it deals with ethical boundaries as well as legal boundaries. However, there are some clear facts that are good to know.
In both New Jersey and New York, employees retain the right to make recordings of conversations between them and another person, without the knowledge of the other party. While this is not always an ethical course of action, and may present significant security risks depending on the nature of workplace, the law is generally on the side of the party who chooses to record the conversation.
It is important to note that this is not the same as recording conversations that do not involve the party making the recording, because that is a separate area of the law. While many of the same protections may still apply to employees in these situations, it is unwise to assume that these different scenarios enjoy the exact same treatment or protection.
If you have legal concerns around recordings you made in your own workplace, it is wise to research this carefully with accurate legal resources and guidance. The specifics of this legal area can get very complicated, and any time that you stand up for yourself against the illegal action of an employer, you assume the risk of harsh retaliation.
A strong legal strategy is most useful when you put it in place before blowing the whistle and playing your hand to your employer. Make sure to protect your own rights and the rights of others with the strength of the law as you promote justice and fair dealing in the workplace.