Generally, both state and federal law prohibits eavesdropping on confidential communications. This may occur in the workplace by monitoring telephone calls, or by recording confidential conversations. An employee may consent to the monitoring of their communications. California law is more prohibitive than federal law, which may allow extension telephones which are used in the usual course of business to be monitored. California Penal Code §631 prohibits wire tapping. California Penal Code §632 prevents eavesdropping or recording of a confidential conversation, without the consent of all parties.
Under very limited circumstances set forth in California Penal Code §638, a party may be allowed to record a confidential communication for the purpose of obtaining evidence reasonably believed to relate to the commission by the other party to the communication, of a serious crime. No person should ever record the confidential communication of another person without first seeking legal counsel, since such recording could be a crime. Unlawful disclosure of the contents of a confidential communication may also result in criminal prosecution.