Secretly recording a conversation to which you are party is not illegal, according to Section 4 of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (RICA). This means that companies may be within their rights to secretly record conversations with employees and use that information against them in a court of law.

The argument that recording these conversations infringes on an employee’s (or employer’s) right to privacy is outweighed when it is in the interests of justice to use that recording. These conversations can be used as evidence in disciplinary hearings and other disputes even before they go to the CCMA or court.

When it comes to conversations involving three parties, however, you need informed consent from one of the other parties to legally record the conversation. It is often this consent that confuses people into thinking all parties must agree to have a discussion recorded.

CRS recommends always going the legal route to obtain recordings, as this is in the best interests of both parties. Employers must always follow fair process and give the employee an opportunity to respond to the evidence presented against him/her.