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

UPDATED: Sep 13, 2011

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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


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

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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