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Virtual workplace meetings are fantastic – a true time and money saver. No makeup, no pants, no shoes, no driving, no hassle! Big props to technology on that one.
If you have not already, now may be a good time to educate yourself on the privacy laws in your state surrounding recording meetings. Whether the meeting is internal or external, virtual or in person, it is important to advise all parties present if the meeting is being recorded. This should be done regardless of the platform being used. Platforms such as Teams and Skype notify each attendee by default that the host has started recording the meeting. A verbal announcement serves as an extra precaution to protect you and accommodate those attendees who may not have seen the notification. There are several harmless reasons to record meetings, such as teaching, training, or just to refresh your memory on a topic. Could the notification via the meeting platform one day satisfy one-party/all-party consent? Companies should develop a simple and repeatable solution to protect themselves from any accidental legal repercussions surrounding this topic, perhaps adopting a policy with best practices and consulting with a legal team before instilling such policies. Some examples include providing a disclaimer in the meeting invite stating that the material discussed in the meeting is subject to recording, a pre-recorded audio notification prior to connecting, or a faint beep or tone for “implied consent” - meaning all parties in the conversation have given consent by staying on the line. I am certainly not one to spout off legal jargon as I am not a lawyer! It is always best to speak with your legal counsel prior to making any assumptions or accusations.
Each state has its own consent rule on how many parties need to consent to the recording of a phone call to make it lawful. Eleven states require “two-party consent”, also known as “all party consent”. Those eleven states are California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington. The various state laws go into detail and should be reviewed carefully. Jurisdiction, a “reasonable expectation of privacy”, and privacy within the workplace come into play. An exhaustive policy in place, designed by company executives and legal counsel, seems to be a reasonable solution that nullifies any grievances and protects you from accusations or legal action. While the intent may be innocent, today’s society mandates a more protective approach to negate liability. Contact us today to further discuss your data privacy concerns and questions!