Sexual harassment often goes unpunished because people fear speaking up, and even those who do talk to management or human resources may have a hard time convincing their employer to take the complaint seriously.
It can be difficult to prove that you have experienced sexual harassment at work because the worst misconduct you may endure on the job likely occurs when there is no one else around. Especially for victims of quid pro quo harassment where a supervisor tries to leverage their workplace authority to demand romantic or sexual favors, proving what they have endured on the job can be a difficult task.
Of course, you walk around with a very powerful device capable of capturing audio recordings or even video footage of your supervisor attempting to solicit you for sexual favors. Can you start recording every time you go into your boss’s office in the hopes of catching them in the act?
California state law limits your right to record conversations with others
Even though you have a device capable of capturing your boss when they say something inappropriate to you, state law will likely prohibit you from using any such recordings in court. In fact, you could potentially face a misdemeanor charge for breaking state law.
California is a two-party consent state for recording communications. If you intend to record a conversation or engage in some other form of audio or video surveillance, every person affected should know and consent. Otherwise, it is an invasion of their privacy to record them.
If you can’t make a recording, what can you do?
You don’t have to endure sexual harassment on the job or quit because your supervisor insists on being inappropriate. There are other ways for you to gather evidence that will convince the courts of the harassment you have experienced. These include having witnesses to different conversations give testimony affirming your claims and keeping a detailed diary that includes the time, date and exact conversational details of each incident of harassment.
Consulting with a lawyer to validate whether your circumstances meet the definition of sexual harassment and to explore how to protect yourself can help you avoid mistakes that might hurt your case.