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

UPDATED: Nov 12, 2011

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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


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

Answered 11 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.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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