Wal-Mart Under Federal Investigation for Recording Phone Calls

MARCH 5, 2007 - Posted at 3:25 p.m. CST

BENTONVILLE, AR - Wal-Mart says it is under federal investigation for unauthorized recording of phone calls, and the company says it has fired a technician for intercepting various communications.

Wal-Mart says it was notified on Thursday that federal prosecutors were investigating.  In addition to firing the technician for intercepting text messages and recording phone calls, Wal-Mart says it has disciplined two managers.

Wal-Mart says it started its own investigation on January 11 after an employee complaint.  The company says it informed prosecutors two days later.

The company says calls between its public relations staff and a reporter from the New York Times were monitored or recorded from September through January.

Wal-Mart says the practice was not illegal because all of its workers are subject to having their calls monitored and the law says a telephone conversation may be recorded if one party has given his or her consent.

Wal-Mart says its own policy was violated by the monitoring and recording.  The company says its legal department has to approve any such monitoring, something Wal-Mart says it does only in cases of suspected criminal fraud or security measures.  The company also engages in standard quality assurance monitoring of its call centers.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)