Can someone record your conversation secretly? The surprising truth.

can someone record your conversation.
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You might not realize this, but someone can secretly record your conversation.

This is most likely something that you have never been exposed to in the workplace. However, there are cases when an Employer or Employee may want to secretly record a conversation with the other. You might be wondering how this is possible if the constitution grants everyone a right to privacy!

Section 4 of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act of 2002. Also known as RICA, states that any person may secretly record any communication if he or she is a party to the conversation. There are some limitations stipulated in the act. For example, this does not apply to a police officer, or a person who is recording the conversation for the purposes of committing a crime. It does, however, apply to you and your employer. So Can someone record your conversation? YES.

So a person may secretly record a conversation if they are party to the conversation.

Obviously they can not record someone else’s conversation secretly. However, just being in the room automatically makes anyone party to a conversation taking place in the room.

You should also know that any recording obtained can be used against you in court. The labour court has made it quite clear that an employer may record your conversations and use these against you. There have even been cases of employers illegally recording the telephonic conversations of employees and using these illegal recordings in court. The labour court ruled that even though the recordings were obtained illegally, obtaining them was in the interest of justice.

So when would an employer want to record your conversation? There are many instances when an employer will want to secretly or openly record a conversation. Most commonly these recordings would be made during a disciplinary hearing or during meetings. Remember they do not need to obtain anyone’s permission to record these conversations.

An Employee might also want to record their employer. This could be because the employer has a history of dishonesty or bending the truth to fit their side of the story. Again no employee needs to obtain permission before recording a conversation with their employer. These recordings can be made openly or in secret.

Can someone record my conversation? Yes… Should they?

I think it is important to point out at this point that even though you are able to secretly record a conversation with your employer or employee, it should only be done under extreme circumstances. The reason being is this behavior is quite likely to result in further mistrust and quite possibly a severe break down in the employment relationship.

If you have a question on this subject, or if you had an experience where your employer recorded you secretly please tell me about it in the comments below. I do respond to each and every comment I receive and I love hearing from you.

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The information contained on this website is simply aimed at providing readers with guidance on labour law in South Africa. This information has not been provided to meet the individual requirements of a specific individual. Bizcraft will always suggest that legal advice be obtained to address a person’s unique circumstances. It is important to remember that the law is constantly changing and although Bizcraft strives to keep the information up to date and of high quality, it cannot be guaranteed that the information will be updated and/or be without errors or omissions. As a result, Bizcraft will under no circumstances accept liability or be held liable, for any innocent or negligent actions or omissions which may result in any harm or liability flowing from the use of or the inability to use the information provided.

1 Comment

  1. […] that you are able to record anyone that you have a conversation with, even without them knowing. You can read that article here if you are interested. If you are worried about the bully disputing your side of the story you should consider recording […]


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