I was recently a part of an unforeseen call between two departments over a failing project.

During the call, my manager had blatantly lied to our HR director regarding this failing project and where some of the failures had fallen. He had blamed a particular team member who didn't have any involvement on the project for not being able to complete assigned tasks.

These tasks were assigned to another employee who babysits the manager's kids. In general, this employee never completes tasks or if he does, they are of poor quality and require a lot of rework. However, since he's favored by the manager and some of upper management, nothing negative can be said about him.

The employee who was blamed for the failures during the call is now longer in the department (just two weeks after this call). I wanted to speak up, but in fear of losing my own job, I didn't. Now, our team is significantly weaker and my workload has skyrocketed.

I'd like to start recording ALL of my calls in the event that something like this happens again. There are currently no policies regarding call recording at my company.

Would I have to announce on the calls that I'm recording in order for it to be considered a viable piece of documentation in situations such as this?

  • 5
    If you are in the US, investigate whether your state is a "one-party" (only one party must be aware of and consent to the recording) or "two-party" (both parties must be aware of and consent) state with regard to recording conversations. But even then, you're taking a huge risk in doing this, with or without company policies about recording calls.
    – alroc
    Nov 3, 2016 at 20:55
  • 1
    If the company was big enough where it wasn't obvious who did it, I think I would anonymously rat out the manager to HR. Whether you do or not, it's probably time to start looking for another job because he'll probably blame you for something in the future. Nov 3, 2016 at 21:11

3 Answers 3


Not just no, but hell no.

I can think of no way that this could end well for you. Not only are you going to risk the ire of the entire company, depending on where you are and the circumstances surrounding your recording of the calls, you could be liable for civil or even criminal charges.

  • 1
    Thanks for your input on this. I figured there were some laws based around this even though our HR department has no policies based around it, but I wasn't sure how else to approach a situation such as this. This is the second team member to leave in four months over similar issues, it seems like I'll be next as of late. Nov 3, 2016 at 20:50
  • Don't want to get into it with you. Most of your stuff I like. But I don't like this answer.
    – paparazzo
    Nov 3, 2016 at 22:03
  • I can accept that. For what it's worth, I've had to do a lot of research on recording phone calls and having them recorded so while IANAL and wouldn't actually offer advice, it's a subject with which I have more than passing familiarity. Twice divorced. Do the math. :)
    – Chris E
    Nov 3, 2016 at 22:05
  • Then I suggest you start by working that into an expanded answer. In general you are right but the tone should be professional, and it should explain why it is a bad idea at least in your opinion. Nov 4, 2016 at 18:58

This is a bad idea.

In some places, it is illegal to record a conversation without letting all parties know about it. If you announce that you are recording conversations, there is really no way this would go well. You are essentially announcing to all that you expect management to lie.

If you hear a lie, what do you expect to do about it? How is having evidence going to make a difference? Would THAT help you keep your job? Is your word not good enough?

You're essentially being very adversarial, but don't have the position or power to take that stance.

A better option, if you want to stay, is to speak up when you hear something that you know isn't true, but in a non-adversarial way. If someone is wrongly blamed, say something like "hey, I'm pretty sure that Pat wasn't even assigned that work" or "wasn't Sam working on that?"


Whether you can or cannot prove the favoured person is in the wrong makes no difference. All you will do is mark yourself as a target. This is quite aside from any legal issues.

Quite often managers are not as stupid as you might think, nor are HR sometimes. They may know full well who is really at fault, but they can't or won't discipline them, they'll find a scapegoat instead. You shouldn't put your hand up and volunteer for the scapegoat position. You should just quietly job hunt until you find a way out of this toxic environment. The last scapegoat lost his job.

  • The last scapegoat lost his job, and the OP probably the next one on the list. ==> Time to update the resume, and go for hunting.
    – gazzz0x2z
    Nov 4, 2016 at 10:19

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