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This guide discusses the implications of secret recordings of conversations in the workplace with respect to privacy and surveillance.
This A-Z Guide deals with the legal issues surrounding covertly made audio recordings of
The law in relation to covertly made audio recordings is constantly evolving, and each case is
determined on its merits, so it is not possible to make generalisations of when it is acceptable to
covertly record a conversation and when it is not. However, this guide traverses the current law to
give you some guidance on the topic as it stands now.
There are several implications of covertly recording a conversation. The first is privacy. Covertly
recording a conversation may be breach the Privacy Act 1993. However, there is some dispute about
whether this is the case. The Courts have held that covert audio recordings may not breach
Information Privacy Principle 3 or 4 but whether or not they breach Principles 1 or 2 has been
The second implication is admissibility. There is no guarantee that a covertly recorded conversation
between an employee and yourself will be admitted into evidence before the Employment Relations
Authority or Employment Court. In deciding whether or not to admit such evidence the Authority
and Court will examine a number of factors, the primary one being fairness.
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