is she spying with her iphone?
May 24, 2010 4:04 PM   Subscribe

did she secretly record our conversation?

Forgive me for writing anonymously, I hope the reasons for that will become clear. I work in a higher education institution in the UK. I have very difficult relationship with one colleague revolving around very different approaches to our tasks. We have to work together in harmony for the success of a large project. We had several work related conflicts that had to be resolved by me asking the line manager for help. Recently, the line manager suggested that both me and her and another colleague who finds working with her very hard will see a HR person as a form of mediation. I had my meeting, and she had hers it last week. Then today she suddenly approached me and started a conversation which was aimed at getting me to say something nasty about her, she kept asking me again and again to assess her performance of a small task that she did not do. I did not get dragged into a fight but I was conscious at the time that her behavior is very strange today.
I am now reasonably certain that she was recording the whole conversation on her iphone which was next to her throughout and that she was checking from time to time.
The question is: how to respond to this situation? I don't think that I have said anything compromising, and of course I can not prove anything, but what is the best way of dealing with the possibility of that happening in the future and what is the legal status of this recording? (if there was one). A broader question is how to deal with a colleague who is willing to behave in this way?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think consulting a lawyer and getting definitive answers would be a lot more prudent and, ultimately, relieving for you.
posted by spec80 at 4:15 PM on May 24, 2010

Given that if she is recording you she's almost certainly looking for ammunition, I would definitely start documenting your interactions, note what you talked about and emotional character of the conversation and any questionable comments. Also, talk about the situation to HR again, noting that the mediation does not seem to have worked and that you're sensing aggression from her.
Otherwise, don't allow yourself to get emotional when dealing with her, do not talk about her negatively in any public way or private way with anyone even remotely connected to work. If she's baiting you just remember that and don't let her win.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:21 PM on May 24, 2010

I'll leave others to comment on the merits of talking with HR more generally, but I would not tell them you suspect your co-worker recorded you. You will seem like a paranoid crazy person. You want her to seem like the crazy person, not you.
posted by grouse at 4:34 PM on May 24, 2010 [7 favorites]

I agree, you really don't have proof that she recorded you, so you shouldn't toss those allegations around. She could have, granted, but there are many other reasons to have an iphone out and check it during a conversation.

One of which, and probably the most common, would be simply checking email and texts. It's borderline rude, but often done.

Stay professional with her at all times - both in your interactions with her, and your discussion of her with other people.
posted by visual mechanic at 5:09 PM on May 24, 2010

Agreeing with grouse here, that your conversation with HR about it (if you have one) should be "I had a very strange conversation with her; she seemed to be trying to get me into an argument about a task she didn't complete. It felt very aggressive, and I found it very confusing. Hopefully it was a fluke, but if she keeps this up, what do you recommend I do?" Don't mention the theoretical recording.

Then, if she someday pulls out a recording, you and the HR person can both go "oh, THAT explains why she was behaving that way!" and the HR person will be your ally.
posted by davejay at 5:09 PM on May 24, 2010 [19 favorites]

You don't have proof, but since you are armed with this suspicion, just make sure not to say anything unkosher in her presence and you will 1) have nothing to worry about, and 2) frustrate the shit out of her, which= you win.
posted by ishotjr at 8:26 PM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Having worked with people like this - the best recommendation I can give you is to keep your mouth shut as much as possible. You can't argue with an idiot - they'll drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience (paraphrasing something someone once said that I don't remember). Go to HR, find someone you can confide in to keep yourself from going crazy, etc. - but around this person, zip it. It will keep you safe and also be ridiculously imposing on them - do not underestimate how much potential this has to shake up the other person's confidence.
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:29 AM on May 25, 2010

I think you will find that the law in the UK states that you cannot be recorded without your knowledge. So legally - and get this checked out obviously - you don't have an issue. I'm pretty sure I'm right - and indeed if she were to use the recording she would be in trouble.

And, yes, be careful what you say about her.
posted by the noob at 5:43 AM on May 25, 2010

« Older How do I sell a shogi set I designed?   |   Baby Love Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.