How should we go about implementing a system for recording employees’ phone conversations? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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How should we go about implementing a system for recording employees’ phone conversations?

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Q. Many of our employees spend most of their time dealing with customers over the phone. For quality control purposes and to make sure workers aren’t making personal telephone calls, we would like to record the calls employees make on company telephones. Is that legal?

A. Employers may record conversations that take place on company telephones as long as all the parties to the conversation consent to the recording.

Under California law, the failure to notify workers and the individuals to whom they are speaking that the conversation is being recorded could result in criminal penalties of up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Plus, an injured party may be able to collect civil damages for invasion of privacy—including punitive damages. Thus, failing to notify both the employee and the other party of this practice could result in significant liability.

Before implementing a policy of recording conversations, notify employees in writing.

You should establish a mechanism to notify outside callers that you are recording their phone conversations. For example, many companies have a recorded message that notifies callers that their phone conversations may be recorded and provides another phone number to call if they object to the practice. By continuing the conversation on the recorded telephone line, customers have given their implied consent to the recording.

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