Q. One of the employees in our office has been taping conversations unknown to the people he is taping. Does the employee have a right to do this?
A. No. California is one of 12 states that have adopted a so-called “two-party consent” law. California makes it a crime to record any confidential communication without the consent of all parties to the conversation.
The statute applies to “confidential communications”—conversations in which one of the parties has an objectively reasonable expectation that no one is listening in or overhearing what is said. Since your employee did not notify the participants that he was making recordings, those conversations easily qualify as “confidential.”