It’s Easy To Stay Legal
Back in October, I posted a provocatively titled blog about call recording, Virginia is a One Party State.
While that explained the legality of call recording in Virginia, and the country in general, there are still questions that people have had. Call recording is a very beneficial feature that can be useful to businesses in numerous ways as described in aforementioned blog and the benefits of call recording. I will do my best to address them below.
First off, if you haven’t read the previous blog, read it. It’s short and informative. But here’s the gist of it. “One party state” refers to a law that states that as long as one party is aware the call is taking place, it is legal. Federal law requires one party consent. As do most states. There are 12 two party states which require both parties’ consent: California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington. The rest, including Virginia, are one party states.
A Few Important Notes
So, now you know that you can record calls without informing person on the line. Right? Well yes, but there are a couple small rules you should be aware of.
First off: interstate commerce. If you work for a company that does business with companies or individuals in other states, be aware that you may be speaking to someone in a two party state. If that is the case, because half of the conversation is taking place in a state where 2 party consent is required. A simple disclaimer solves that problem. That’s why whenever you speak to the customer service department for a large company, they read you a script saying something like “this call will be recorded to ensure proper service.”
So what does that mean to your Virginia Business?
If you have a company that does business outside Virginia, the easiest solution is to simply have a recorded disclaimer play to each caller before the phone is transferred to an answerer. You can also only do that for customers in other states but that is a lot to keep up with.
If you are a business that operates in Virginia only, you don’t have to worry about that. What you may need to worry about is your employees.
Just because you as a business owner knows that your calls are being recorded doesn’t mean your employees do. And it is legally required that one of the parties of the conversation is aware of the recording – so that means individuals, not companies.
This is an easy issue to solve. When getting a new phone system, tell all your employees about this new feature. Ideally, have them sign something saying they’re aware of it. Also, add a section about call recording to your employee handbook so all future employees learn of it during their initial new hire orientation.
Finally, if you ever have member of the public use a courtesy phone, it is important to let them know calls are recorded as well. There are two solutions for this. The first is to simply post a notice above any courtesy phone. The second is to define call recording parameters to not record calls from that particular extension.
What about HIPAA?
HIPAA requirements as well as those for other industry specific regulations can be complex. Rather than trying to answer questions about all of them here, I encourage you to ask your telephone supplier to ensure prior to installation that your telephone system recording feature meets HIPAA or other industry requirements.
Call recording may sound complex but in reality, it’s pretty straightforward.
Finally, I must note that I am not a lawyer and that this blog does not substitute for legal counsel. If you have a question about a particular call recording situation, be sure to do your due diligence to make sure you are on the right side of the law.