Ethical behavior?

Picture this: your coworker, who has seniority over you due to his/her position, calls you into his/her office for a talk. As you go in, s/he asks if you mind if the secretary joins you. Of course that’s fine, you say.  Then this coworker begins to ask a series of questions about why s/he feels there is a communication gap between you and why you seem to constantly be questioning his/her authority, despite the fact that the things you do are only part of what is necessary to your job and despite the fact that s/he is not your employer. You try to keep an even temper while responding to this grilling but then notice that the secretary is writing down every word you say. When you ask your coworker why she is writing down your words, the coworker responds that it is so s/he has ‘written testimony’ in case s/he needs to show it to your supervisors.  Your permission was never asked to record your words.

Question: Is this a breach of privacy? In any other situation in which you record someone’s words–at least in the academic world–you always have to get permission from them to do so. Or is this only when you are actually using the information in a study? But wouldn’t the fact that there was some intent to show this record to others also require that they receive permission?

Gentle reader, what do YOU think?


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nikkip
    Oct 19, 2006 @ 03:19:27

    please don’t tell me this happened to you? i need more details…maybe via a private email, unless you’re willing to divulge in public.


  2. robberfly
    Oct 19, 2006 @ 11:35:39

    yeah, very shady.


  3. micheledwest
    Oct 19, 2006 @ 15:50:31

    Thanks for the feedback, guys…I can’t be more specific here but it wasn’t me…


  4. norba920
    Oct 19, 2006 @ 15:56:01

    well, since we’re not dealing with a 4th amend. question of whether you had a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” i’d have to say “it depends.” probably not an invasion of privacy in the strict legal sense though, but since i don’t practice in ohio (or kentucky?), i’m not aware if they have any state privacy protections that would cover this.

    a bill for my services in the amount of $375 will be in the mail to you this afternoon.

    ok, i’ll stop now…


  5. micheledwest
    Oct 19, 2006 @ 17:03:56



  6. The Mom
    Oct 19, 2006 @ 17:06:45

    Did this happen between a Senior Pastor and one of his staff members by any chance????


  7. micheledwest
    Oct 19, 2006 @ 20:14:18

    The Mom sounds like she knows something about it, unfortunately…


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