Understandably, you may want to record that conversation your boss or HR is about to have with you. DON’T! Not without their express (and recorded) consent. Unless you are expecting to tape record someone admitting or committing extortion, kidnapping or physical violence against a person, you will be the one on the wrong side of the law.
California is one of 12 states in which recording an otherwise confidential conversation, without the express permission of the other person(s), is a crime – specifically, a misdemeanor. It can subject you to as much as a year in jail and/or a $2500 fine. Equally important, the tape recording may not be admissible in court in any case you may bring in the future.
So, if you are in California, shut off those iPhones and Droids during confidential conversations. Instead, take notes during the meeting or consider taking a few minutes right after the conversation to write down everything that you can recall about the conversation, including what each person said. Even if you are upset by the conversation, take a deep breath and write as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances (such as whether you continue to be employed after the conversation), you may want to send an email to your boss or HR confirming what was said. And always keep your emails and other written communications polite and to the point.