Is it illegal for an individual to record a boss yelling and using profanity at him?


New York is a one-party consent state, meaning that it is legal to record a conversation as long as one party to that conversation consents.

Unless you're subject to a contract prohibiting recording, or unless your workplace has some special characteristics that might interfere with your rights, you'd generally be within your rights to record. The fact that you're talking about audio-only makes it seem like you should be fine. This sort of evidence is pretty routinely used in employment-discrimination cases.


Probably not illegal, per NY Penal Law Article 250.

Yelling and profanity have nothing to do with it. "Verbal assault" is not a legal term.

  • Thanks for the information. I don't know legal terms. I was giving a description of the instance. Apr 13 '16 at 14:37
  • Sam, are you sure the question merits the "wiretapping" tag? I know the applicable laws and offenses are often lumped under that term, but this is not about recording a conversation over a wire. Even in this case the law distinguishes wiretapping as a subset of the crime of "eavesdropping."
    – feetwet
    Apr 13 '16 at 15:08
  • You're most likely right on the wiretapping, that they are separate. There isn't a wire involved, just a the mic on a cell phone. Something similar to recording a police stop, but no video, just audio.
    – Lorenzo
    Apr 20 '18 at 19:12
  • @Lorenzo "It is a federal crime to wiretap or to use a machine to capture the communications of others without court approval, unless one of the parties has given their prior consent. It is likewise a federal crime to use or disclose any information acquired by illegal wiretapping or electronic eavesdropping."
    – Sam
    Apr 21 '18 at 1:59
  • @Sam It's not about wiretapping. Of course a phone is an electronic device. People are using that electronic device all the time showing what happens on a plane, or when being stopped by police. I don't think they are committing a federal crime when they record things that are happening to them. Of course, things for the input and feedback.
    – Lorenzo
    Apr 25 '18 at 13:41

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