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Can I secretly record a counseling session?

My leader and I do not get along. When we have a counseling session he becomes degrading and abusive. I have told him I don't appreciate it and he continues to do it and threaten me with UCMJ. Can I record our counseling sessions?

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Discussion

There is nothing to my knowledge that prevents you from recording the conversation.  It is unfortunate that you feel you would have to resort to this action to protect yourself.  If you choose this course of action I would encourage you not to flaunt the recording of the session.  If there is something in the recording that is inappropriate or illegal I would encourage you to take the recording to your local JAG to ensure any actions you take are not illegal and will not get you in trouble.  The JAG could assist you in coming up with a plan to address the issue in a professional manner with your chain of command.

I am sure that senior leaders in the unit will not support leaders being abusive or degrading and would want to take appropriate action to correct the issue and prevent it from happening in the future.

In summary I want to say that recording a leader is a serious breach of trust.  Maybe given the specifics of a situation it is appropriate but you must also understand that by recording a conversation and then using it a against an individual will more than likely change your relationship with other members of the chain of command.


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Meaning I am sure it will sow doubt in their minds….will they always be thinking is this guy recording me?  Only you can decide if recording a conversation is appropriate.

I would simply encourage you to think of the unintended consequences of your actions. Furthermore make sure you do not abuse or misuse any data you record or attempt to intimidate those you record by holding the recording over their heads as this might be considered “BLACKMAIL” and subject you to severe punishment.

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posted on 04/28/2014 under Q&A
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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

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