If Ihave been recording my work shifts becauseI work in a hostile working environment is this legal?

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If Ihave been recording my work shifts becauseI work in a hostile working environment is this legal?

My boss is harassing me and manipulating other staff and myself; definitely feels like personal issues involving me and other staff. My boss is hot tempered and totally unprofessional. I have been recording audio only. This is an unsafe hostile work environment. I’m wondering if it’s OK to present this to HR? Is it legal for me to do? If not, I won’t present it and forget about the recordings. In CO.

Asked on November 12, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

CO is what is a "1-party consent" state. What this means that as long as 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 recording it is illegal. Additionally, in virtually all states, the law makes an exception for in-person communications when 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, even if you were not a party to that conversation.

So depending on where you record matters. If it is within your co-worker's office you should be a party to the conversation. If it is in the lunchroom, hallway or other public area, then they have no expectation of privacy so you need not be a party to the conversation to record it.

That having been said, your employer may take a dim view of your making recordings in the workplace. So make sure that you can live with the consequences of your actions. Whether or not the recordings are legal, you might be terminated for making them depending on the circumstances. At this point, you may want to consult directly with an employment law attorney in your area and go over the details of your case. They can then best advise as to your rights/remedies.


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