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Is recording conversations in the workplace legal in CA?

Walnut Creek, CA |
Filed under: Civil rights

Lisa and Den are colleagues. They don’t get alone with each other. Lisa once recorded their conversation and showed it to their manager to against Den. Can Lisa do this? Can Den suit Lisa for recording their conversation without his permission?

I would like to know the legality of an employee recording conversations in the workplace without the other employees’ knowledge. Is this legal in CA?

Attorney Answers 3


CA Penal Code Section 632 makes it a crime to record any confidential communication in CA, whether it is in workplace or not. Key is that one of the parties has a reasonable expectation of privacy. If only two of you are present and no third party can overhear, there is reasonable expectation of privacy.

You can get civil penalties under Section 637.2 and can seek criminal charges as well.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.

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This question has the flavor of a homework question...

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

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Not only is it illegal if there is an expectation of privacy, any recording is inadmissible in court.

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