Can you recover conversations to prove workplace harassment?

| Oct 16, 2020 | Employment Law |

Workplace harassment can be difficult to prove for victims enduring verbal abuse or mistreatment from co-workers and supervisors. Unless you have people willing to corroborate your version of events, you may worry about whether your claims will be enough to convince a court about your experiences.

Gathering evidence is an important part of building a workplace harassment claim against your employer. With impressive modern mobile home technology comes the ability to video or audio record other people without their awareness. Can you record people at your place of employment in order to prove the mistreatment you’ve endured?

California is a two-party consent state for recording

While you may have technology that could make it easy for you to record abusive acts or statements by a co-worker or manager, doing so could put you in violation of California state law. In order to make a video or audio recording of someone, you typically need to have their consent.

If you start making a video or audio recording with your phone during an unpleasant interaction with your co-workers, although the evidence may prove the mistreatment you’ve experienced, the act of recording without consent violates your co-workers’ rights and may leave you vulnerable to legal action.                                                                     

If you can’t make a recording, how do you prove harassment?

People have been able to document and validate their experiences of workplace harassment and discrimination since well before the rise of digital recording technology. Keeping a written record of individual events, ideally in a notebook or device that you own so that your employer can’t accuse you of misappropriating company resources, can help show a pattern of behavior.

You or a lawyer could potentially ask for security camera footage if the company records on the premises where you work. You may also be able to find witnesses or other victims. Often, when a person abuses one person, they mistreat others as well. Finding other current and former employees who have endured the same kinds of harassment can also build the credibility of your claim.

Discussing the specific way that you endure harassment at work with an attorney can give you a better idea about what kind of documentation or evidence will improve your chances of a successful claim against that individual or your employer.


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