One of the things that might happen in the workplace is sexual harassment. And, it usually happens when no one else is around, so it will be your word against the deviant’s word. What should you do? Can you record the individual without their consent? Maybe. Generally, it is against the law in California to record someone without their permission.
California Penal Code §§631 and 632
Pursuant to the California Penal Code sections 631 and 632, you cannot record a phone conversation or record someone in person without their permission. These actions come with significant fines of $2,500 for the first offense and $10,000 for the second offense. You could also spend up to a year in jail.
However, if you are in a place where the person you are recording does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, you might be able to document that person.
How Do I Catch Someone Sexually Harassing Me?
If the only way to prove sexual harassment at work is to record the conversation, you might be able to record the conversation without the other person’s consent. You can’t record the person in their home or vehicle because they have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Additionally, the recording would not be allowable as evidence.
However, if you are in a public setting, the person usually does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. For example, if you are in an open work area, parking garage, stairwell, or an open warehouse, a person does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. You might be able to record them without suffering legal consequences – as long as the conversation takes place where others could hear it.
The Fine Line
It is a fine line in determining whether recording someone without their consent is legal. If the only way you can prove sexual harassment is by recording a conversation, you must ensure the conversation takes place in a public place where others could overhear the conversation. If you are unsure if a place is public enough, you can contact us to discuss your issues or wait until you get that person by himself in a public area of your workplace.
If you have questions or issues proving sexual harassment, contact a workplace attorney at Knoll Law Group today for a free case evaluation.