Recent Georgia gubernatorial candidate Casey Cagle’s career was halted due to a secret recording produced by failed candidate Clay Tippins. At the time, the recording was legal because in Georgia only one person in a conversation has to agree to be recorded.
Now Senate Rules Chairman, Jeff Mullis, wants the law changed to make such tapings illegal. Mullis’s bill would require all parties to give “prior consent” to being recorded.
It’s something that Georgia First Amendment Foundation President Richard T. Griffiths said would be “very bad for the public.” Not only would it have an impact on investigative journalism, it would keep people from being able to pursue legal action against people trying to commit fraud over the phone, Griffiths said.
Of course, there are pros and there are cons to recording conversations. Whistleblowers frequently come to us with recordings of conversations with managers and co-workers. Often, particularly when they sense they are about to be retaliated against, they turn on their phone recorders during important meetings or when called in to talk with HR. This can result in strong evidence of retaliation, but also of fraud, and can be vital evidence in a False Claims Act case. Or, if the employer feigns ignorance of the fraud and claims to be firing you for non-retaliatory reasons, it can be devastating to your case.
If you want to know our opinion on recordings, check out this previous blog post.