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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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Is it legal for an employer to tap into your phone and listen

Customer Question

Is it legal for an employer to tap into your phone and listen to your office conversation with other people in your office (not your phone calls)? Our phone system allows you to dial into offices and listen to conversations without a beep or announcing you are listening.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I look forward to assisting you today. I bring nearly 20 years of experience in various legal disciplines.

Yes, this is legal. In fact, it technically legal for them to listen in on phone calls outside of the office too.

This is because the phone is a company owned item and courts have found that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy when using office phones, computers or other equipment. So, your phone calls, texts, emails, etc. are all fair game.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
But this is not my phone calls. It's a peer tapping into my office unannounced with no reason.
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I understand that. I used the phone calls as just one example of things they could do in addition to listen to these inter-office conversations.

They can listen in on any of their equipment you use. They don't have to announce it, or let you know. They can put a video camera in your office too and film everything you do there.

I understand your question fully. They legally can do this if they want to.

Again, when you are in your office, courts have held that you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. If they placed a camera in a bathroom or changing room, that has been found to go too far, but this sort of listening in, in locations in their office, is legally fine. I won't say it's fair or professional. It's very controlling, but it's not illegal.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 16091
Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation
Allen M., Esq. and 7 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is it still legal if it is a peer doing the eavesdropping?
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

If the peer is doing it for the company, still legal.

If the peer is doing it on their own, then the employer could decide that they do not condone the behavior, but that is up to the company decide if they wish to take some action.

 

Again, the issue is that you have no legally recognized right to privacy in the workplace.

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Allen M., Esq.
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