Can I record audio of my students or employees?

The short answer is “no.”  Taking audio recordings without the person’s knowledge and consent is against the law in California, expect for those exemptions provided for in California Penal Code Sections 630-637.   This is considered an eavesdropping/privacy issue.   So, if you are thinking of putting in a CCTV with audio recording or using a video camera with audio recording capabilities, think again.  Some folks will dismantle the audio recording, but you are safest to make sure that it cannot be reconnected by a rogue employee.  Just purchase the equipment that without audio capabilities.  Happy reading, it’s a long bit of code.

632.  (a) Every person who, intentionally and without the consent of
all parties to a confidential communication, by means of any
electronic amplifying or recording device, eavesdrops upon or records
the confidential communication, whether the communication is carried
on among the parties in the presence of one another or by means of a
telegraph, telephone, or other device, except a radio, shall be
punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars
($2,500), or imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year,
or in the state prison, or by both that fine and imprisonment. If the
person has previously been convicted of a violation of this section
or Section 631, 632.5, 632.6, 632.7, or 636, the person shall be
punished by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), by
imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, or in the
state prison, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
   (b) The term "person" includes an individual, business
association, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or
other legal entity, and an individual acting or purporting to act for
or on behalf of any government or subdivision thereof, whether
federal, state, or local, but excludes an individual known by all
parties to a confidential communication to be overhearing or
recording the communication.
   (c) The term "confidential communication" includes any
communication carried on in circumstances as may reasonably indicate
that any party to the communication desires it to be confined to the
parties thereto, but excludes a communication made in a public
gathering or in any legislative, judicial, executive or
administrative proceeding open to the public, or in any other
circumstance in which the parties to the communication may reasonably
expect that the communication may be overheard or recorded.
   (d) Except as proof in an action or prosecution for violation of
this section, no evidence obtained as a result of eavesdropping upon
or recording a confidential communication in violation of this
section shall be admissible in any judicial, administrative,
legislative, or other proceeding.
   (e) This section does not apply (1) to any public utility engaged
in the business of providing communications services and facilities,
or to the officers, employees or agents thereof, where the acts
otherwise prohibited by this section are for the purpose of
construction, maintenance, conduct or operation of the services and
facilities of the public utility, or (2) to the use of any
instrument, equipment, facility, or service furnished and used
pursuant to the tariffs of a public utility, or (3) to any telephonic
communication system used for communication exclusively within a
state, county, city and county, or city correctional facility.
   (f) This section does not apply to the use of hearing aids and
similar devices, by persons afflicted with impaired hearing, for the
purpose of overcoming the impairment to permit the hearing of sounds
ordinarily audible to the human ear.

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