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Audio Recording Conference with direct Supervisor/Manager


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#1 AugMir

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:28 PM

Employment in Texas:
I have a manager that is known to show disparate treatment among his subordinates. It so happened that this manager had a conference with me to address a misunderstanding to a communication between myself and another fellow co-worker. Suffice it to say, on managers request, I went ahead and spoke with fellow co-worker right after the conference with manager and cleared the misunderstanding where fellow co-worker agreed it was blown out of proportion. We exchanged apologies and fellow co-worker went in search of manager to advise him that we were both okay with the incident.

Since there have been other instance where manager and I have not seen eye to eye on the way treatment is disparate toward all subordinates, I have taken precautions to actively exercise my legal right under Texas Penal Code 16.02 where consent is required by only one party to a given conversation.

Needless to say, 15 minutes into the conversation/conference, manager asked me if the conversation was being recorded to which I respectfully replied that it shouldn't make a difference whether it was being recorded or not. Manager then stated that the conversation was not to be recorded without his consent to which I responded by citing him the penal code where it states that in Texas only one party to a conversation is required to give consent to have the conversation recorded. Manager quickly ended the conversation, stood up and left stating he would be setting up anther meeting further escalating the issue after he had mentioned everything was okay now and that he was not in there to address the issue as a disciplinary action.

My question is, since it seems/appears that manager will be escalating the matter further and perhaps seeking some sort of disciplinary action be taken against me up to and including dismissal based in part on him stating he did not give permission that I record him but yet I did, what legal course of action do I have against what is obviously now a power stance on his part after learning his statements may have all been caught on an audio recorder?

I can't help but feel harassed and in some way feel he is trying to use a form of intimidation tactic as he's used with other subordinates. Given the way he stoop up, said what he said and then stormed out of the conference room where we met, I can't help but feel he will try to retaliate in some way.

There is a lot of disparate treatment in the department/unit where other employees have shared they would voice out what they've witnessed if an administrative complaint triggers an investigation against said manager.

#2 Hurltheburly

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:36 AM

That there may be problems at your place of employment is evident in your posting. These problems may or may not be atypical. Recording conversations may be a good idea, in one sense, depending on statute(s). However, your need to record these, your conversations, may or may not support your assertion(s). If the manager/supervisor/person to whom you refer objects to recording conversation(s) at your place-of-employment and the timing of said recording is in a part of the establishment shared by members of the general public, or is in an area of the establishment that OUGHT BE OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC, then there may or may not be a legitimate reason for manager/supervisor/person to object to said recording, which might suggest that their objection to your recording is for a legitimate reason including, but perhaps not limited to: confidentiality or the maintenance of proprietary business or personal information. Correspondingly, their objection to your recording may be for an illegitimate reason, such as to engage in discrimination.
The question that must now be asked is: why? Why would anyone object to someone else recording them in a quasi-public place (Quasi-public, in this instance, may best describe a business location where most areas, if not the vast majority of the entire building's premises, are open and accessible to members of the public)? Correspondingly, why the need for you to record?
The answer may be, in two words, "privacy" and "civil rights." It must be noted that privacy and civil rights are often, as they ought be, central issues-of-concern. Is it not also unreasonable to assert that privacy, or aspects of privacy, as well as civil rights, and aspects of civil rights, project themselves into certain areas the public realm?
For example, let's suppose that you and your friend meet on a public sidewalk and begin a private discussion between the two of you. It is a public sidewalk, but you and your friend are the only ones consenting to participation in your private conversation. The topic(s) of your private conversation pertain(s) only to the two of you and does not involve and is not likely to involve lobbying Congress, public corruption, bribery, embezzlement or anything of that sort. In fact, neither of you is or has been a public official or has ever lobbied either Congress of your state or local legislators. Now, when your conversation began, you two were the only ones on the sidewalk. Let us further suppose that, a moment or two later, someone else, someone that neither of you knows, walks by and then stops to listen to your conversation. At what point would you, as any reasonable person might, object? Would it not be unreasonable for you to enquire why this person, this sudden sidewalk apparition that neither of you knows, is stopping on that same public sidewalk with the two of you to listen in on your private conversation? Perhaps your objection might have something more to do with the topic that you and your friend are discussing and less to do with the location of your discussion? It must be noted that you would probably find unusual, but not object, to that unknown person listening if your topic-of-discussion was the score of the latest sporting event. Simultaneously and concomitantly, you would, undoubtedly, vigorously object to any person listening to the two of you if your topic-of-discussion was any aspect of your personally identifying information including, but not necessarily limited to: your full name, address, date-of-birth, social security number, health information and bank account number. If your topic-of-conversation concerned the latter and undoubtedly personal information, would you not then object vigorously to the third-party listener?

#3 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 03:43 AM

Quite simply, most things that are legal for you to do (i.e. not a crime) may still be a legal reason for the employer to fire you. When the employer is not a government agency, then the employer may legally fire you for any reason (or no reason at all) except for a few reasons prohibited by law. The prohibited reasons include firing you because:
• of your race, color religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic test information under federal law (some states/localities add a few more categories like sexual orientation);
• you make certain kinds of reports about the employer to the government or in limited circumstances to specified persons in the employing company itself (known as whistle-blower protection laws);
• you participate in union organizing activities;
• you use a right or benefit the law guarantees you (e.g. using leave under FMLA);
• you filed a bankruptcy petition;
• your pay was garnished by a single creditor or by the IRS; and
• you took time off work to attend jury duty (in most states).

Here, you might have some protection if you can link the recording of the conversation as an effort to protect your rights against illegal discrimination — i.e. discrimination based on race, color religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic test information under federal law. Retaliation for steps you take to protect your rights is prohibited. However, if the differing treatment you are referring to is based on something else other than one of these factors, you won’t have any protection here.

#4 AugMir

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 05:21 AM

"When the employer is not a government agency, then the employer may legally fire you for any reason (or no reason at all) except for a few reasons prohibited by law."

I've seen this posted on several other topics relating to employment. What is the difference between a government agency vs. private employer with regard to legally firing you for any reason?

Adding to my post, my employer is a government agency.

#5 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 07:09 AM

What is the difference between a government agency vs. private employer with regard to legally firing you for any reason?

Adding to my post, my employer is a government agency.


There are several differences. First, the federal government and many states have civil service laws that provide greater protection for their employees than private sector employees get. Second, a lot more government employees are protected by union contracts than private company employees. Third, government employees get some additional protection from the federal and state constitutions because the rights that we have against government generally also protect government employees in dealing with their employer. For example, if a private employer doesn't like something that you say, you likely can be legally fired for it. But because of the First Amendment, the government is much more restricted in being able to fire employees for what they say. The Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process also restrict what government can do when firing or disciplining employees. Thus, you may have right to some form of appeal of a decision by your manager to fire you. Private employers don’t have to offer any sort of appeal process prior to termination (unless required by a union contract or other employment contract).

#6 adjusterjack

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:45 AM

I suggest you start looking for another job.

This one is not going to last much longer.

Warning: Legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here are simplified and might not fully explain the ramifications of your particular issue. I am not a lawyer. I do not give legal advice. I make comments based on my knowledge and experience. I guarantee nothing. If you act on my comments without the advice of an attorney, you do so at your own risk.


#7 Guest_FindLaw_Amir_*

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:11 AM

To learn more about your rights as an employee, you may visit the Employment Law Center as a good resource.

#8 azenette93

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:21 PM

At adjusterjack:
What is the reason behind your response? Can you elaborate further please?

#9 AugMir

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:25 PM

At adjusterjack:
I actually have started looking, even prior to the occurrence of this incident but somehow now feel I need to fight this through and hopefully put a stop to this type of behavior from this **** of a manager. I do have several leads on opportunities to go back to the company I worked for prior to where I currently am employed, but would like to see this through before I submit my resignation.




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