Four employees of Salt Lake Community College's Small Business Development Center face criminal charges for allegedly taping two conversations of another employee.
Each of the four employees were charged Tuesday in 3rd District Court with nine counts of intercepting electronic communication, a third-degree felony.
Prosecutors believe the employees recorded the conversations because they were gathering information for an employment grievance they intended to file.
"They were trying to obtain information to rebut a charge of harassment," District Attorney spokesman Kent Morgan said.
But both times the subjects of the recording were unaware the conversations were being intercepted, according to the charges.
"This is a one (person) consent state," Morgan said. "If one party consents to the interception, it's fine. But if both parties are unaware, you've committed a felony in the state of Utah."
On June 10, Allen Peder Andersen, 29, recorded a conversation of another employee while she was on a long-distance phone call, the charges state.
Morgan said the recording was made on a personal handheld device that was placed on the floor of the woman's office.
Sometime between June 10-14, Andersen told co-workers Barry Lamar Bartlett, Von T. Rowley and Marsha Haynes about the recording, the charges state.
A second recording allegedly was made on June 11. The recording device was placed in the same woman's office. The phone conversation involved someone else, according to the charges.
On July 14, Andersen talked about the contents of the recorded conversations with Craig Gardner, SLCC director of human resources, and Bartlett talked about the recorded conversations with SLCC vice president Donald Porter, the charges state.
Also on that day, Haynes discussed the recordings with SLCC Interim President Judd Morgan, and Rowley discussed the recordings with Daniel Bingham, executive dean of SLCC's Larry H. Miller Campus, the charges state.
It is not clear whether the four employees continue to work for SLCC's Small Business Development Center, which assists the private sector similarly to the Small Business Administration.
Joy Tlou, SLCC director of public relations, said the college had not seen Tuesday's criminal charges.
"We cannot comment at this time," he said.
In July, SLCC placed four employees on administrative leave pending the results of a state audit into financial practices at the Small Business Development Center. A fifth employee had been suspended 10 weeks before that.
Their names have not been released and Tlou said he could not comment on that matter, either.