My employer (a 50% owner of the company) started recording staff meetings on his cell phone. The recordings were to be available to all staff members to review; at first, they were. This employer is a very difficult person. The employer who records the meetings tends to turn his phone off and continues to talk and deliver remarks, accusations, and demeaning insults. During a recent impromptu meeting, I went get my phone to ensure the full meeting would be recorded as only one owner was in the building. When I returned with my phone and announced that I would also be recording the meeting in ensure that all the information would be captured, I was told I was not permitted to record in his business only he is allowed to record. I was sent home.
What right do employees have to record when all parties know they are being recorded by the employer?
Recording statutes vary by state. In New Hampshire, my home state, the statute addressing recording communications requires that all parties must consent to the recording for it to be legal. It may well be different in Nevada, or under federal law, if the communication occurs across state lines. Nevertheless, in NH without everybody’s consent recording the meeting would not be permitted.
An employer has the responsibility to protect the privacy of its employees and customers as well as protect trade secrets, etc. Thus, a plausible business reason for an employer prohibiting employees from recording meetings is an employee recording his/her employer’s meeting may compromise his/her employer’s business.
In the circumstances described, this employer’s rationale for not allowing others to record appears disingenuous based upon what you allege. I know this may seem like a double standard, but courts typically give deference to employers over management decisions and your recording issue was a management decision. Your employer sending you home in reaction to you attempting to record the meeting was probably permissible, because employees are generally employees at will (Nevada is an employment at will state) – meaning employers are legally allowed to use their prerogatives and can choose to discipline or terminate an employee for any reason without notice, absent an employment contract. In conclusion, it was your employer’s managerial prerogative to deny you permission to record the meeting, notwithstanding your good intentions.
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