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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
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Experience:  Attorney experienced in numerous areas of law.
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Can my employer legally record me with video and AUDIO in my

Customer Question

Can my employer legally record me with video and AUDIO in my work truck with out my consent? According to what I read about the wiretap law in Pennsylvania they cannot.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 4 years ago.
Did your employer notify you ahead of the installation?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
They told me they were installing three one week before they actually installed it but never asked for consent since it records audio nor did they explain it to me until 2 months after it was already installed.
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 4 years ago.

Do you travel outside of the state of Pennsylvania while being recorded? If so, into which states?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No, were are exclusively a Pennsylvania stationed company. I will not ever leaved or travel outside PA for this company.
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 4 years ago.

Hi again:

 

the first thing to recognize here is that this is not a wiretap issue; although it is similar and pretty common to confuse the issue, wiretapping laws only apply where a telephone communication is taking place (although, video conferences etc. would be covered as well). It does not apply to all oral communications.

 

There is an oral communications law on the books, however; the law does not cover oral communications when the speakers do not have an "expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation." pursuant to 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5702. Unfortunately, under most circumstances, if you are on the job then there is no legal expectation that your oral communications are not subject to interception, especially when you are driving the company truck.

 

I realize that this may not be what you had hoped for, so I do have faith that you will understand my belief that I can only help people by giving them correct information, regardless of whether it amounts to good news. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX me know if I may be of further guidance.

Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12237
Experience: Attorney experienced in numerous areas of law.
Brandon M. and 19 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

This is what I have found,

 

Recorded conversations (either tape or digital) are often very helpful in a variety of scenarios. These audio recordings may assist in an investigation of employee misconduct or in business or personal lawsuits, even in potential criminal investigations.

It is very important, however, to make sure that any recording, either of a phone conversation or an in-person conversation, complies with federal and state laws. Otherwise, you may very well open yourself up to criminal charges or civil suits. And it is unlikely that you will be legally able to use the recording for your original purpose.

So, if you're thinking about recording some phone calls or placing a voice activated recorder in a room to record conversations, you'll need to take a look at the applicable laws.

The first place to look is at the federal wiretapping statute, also known as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Federal law allows phone calls (traditional, cellular and cordless) and other electronic communication to be recorded with the consent of at least one party to the conversation.

This means that if you are one of the people taking part in the conversation, it can be recorded because one person (you) has consented to the recording. If you are not taking part in the conversation, at least one of the people in the conversation must know about and consent to the recording.

You can't stop, however, after considering federal law and assume that your recording passes muster. Each state and territory has its own statutes regarding the recording of conversations. Most state wiretapping and eavesdropping laws are based upon the federal law and allow recording with the consent of one party to the conversation.

Some states demand more than one party's consent. These states require "all-party" consent. An "all-party" consent state requires a recording/intercepting party to obtain the consent of all parties (two or more) to the actual conversation or transmission being recorded and/or intercepted.

As used herein:

The term "transmission" means a transmission of communications by the aid of wire, cable or other like connection between the point of origin and the point of reception. An example would be a transmission by telephone.

The term "intercepting" refers to listening to a conversation through the aid of an electronic, mechanical or other device. Merely overhearing the conversation of others is not included, but listening to such a conversation by means of an electronic listening or eavesdropping device would be covered.

 

The 37 states which allow one party consent recording of oral communications are: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The District of Columbia also allows people to record conversations with the consent of only one party. Nevada has a one party consent statute but there is some question as to how the law should be interpreted by the courts. It could be considered an all party consent state.

The 12 states which definitely require all parties to a conversation to consent before it can be recorded are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.

In California, there is an exception. You can record a conversation with the consent of only one party if certain criminal activity (kidnapping, extortion, bribery or a violent felony) is involved.

In Pennsylvania the act of recording with out consent of all parties is punishable from a minimum of $100 per day (of violation) or $1,000 or actual damages to the maximum of a third degree felony.

Applicable Statute

18 Pa.C.S. ?? 5702, 5703, 5704, 5725

 

Are you still sure this doesn't apply to my situation because it seems like it does by description?

Expert:  Brandon M. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for the accept.

 

Yes, I am sure. If the conversation was recorded while you were talking to a friend in a restaurant or in your home, it would be one thing, but on the job it is almost always ok.

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