Is Your Boss Using Fake Devices (Like This “USB Drive”) To Record You?

For years I’ve provided legal advice to employees about whether and when they can record workplace conversations with their bosses.   Increasingly, though, I am seeing situations where it is the supervisors doing the recording.   And if your boss is recording you, you may not know it.  There are dozens of devices on the market designed to look like USB flash drives, key fobs, pens and other ordinary office supplies that can record hours of conversations. Most are voice activated, meaning your boss doesn’t even have to push a button to start taping you.  The memory stick shown above is $99.00, records for up to fifteen hours and can pick up conversations twenty feet away.

Is it legal?  It might be.  It depends on the state you’re in, and the specific facts of your situation.  Some states, like Georgia, generally allow recordings without the consent of all people present.  Florida has a more restrictive rule. It generally forbids recording unless everyone present has consented.  But even this rule has lots of exceptions.

If you’re concerned that your boss might be recording you, ask.  It’s as simple as “Are you recording this conversation?”  Repeat the question again as needed later in the conversation.  And use common sense about your environment.  Are there electric or battery-powered devices on the table or desk where the conversation is taking place? Do they seem new or out of place?  Is their placement on the  table or desk unusual?  Does the boss keep looking at it?  Does it only show up when you’re meeting with the boss?

And if you really need to minimize the odds of being taped, ask the boss to meet with you in your work area or in a neutral conference room. (And be sure to still ask if you’re being recorded.)

Questions?  Feel free to message me at

Jim Garrity

When You Need A Lawyer, to Fight Your Employer ®

Categories: Surveillance by Employer

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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