As an employee in California, you have the benefit of both state and federal worker protection laws. Unfortunately, plenty of companies will happily violate employment laws while assuming that their workers won’t know how to stand up for themselves. Workers often don’t realize that their experience meets the legal definition of harassment or discrimination.
Even if you do recognize a violation of your rights when it occurs, you need proof of what you experienced if you want to hold them accountable for their actions. Given that California is a two-party consent state for audio and video recording, you cannot legally capture video or audio recordings of other people without their knowledge and permission.
How do you document misconduct in the workplace to build your case?
- Maintain a written record
One of the simplest means of showing me a pattern of predatory or harassing behavior is to keep detailed records of every incident that happens. Written records that include the time, date, location and other details of each incident you experience can help you prove to an employer or possibly the civil courts that misconduct occurred in your workplace.
- Get the support of witnesses
Sometimes, there are multiple people subject to the same kinds of misconduct in the workplace. Other times, only one person is the target, but many people witness the behavior. When harassment occurs in front of other people at work, you may be able to convince some of them to speak up as witnesses in your case. Including information about witnesses in the records you keep could eventually help you prove your claims of workplace misconduct.
- Preserve digital evidence
Often, those engaged in misconduct in the workplace will send out emails or other messages that may help corroborate someone’s claims about certain events or at least the timing of their interactions with the other party. Whenever there are digital records of an interaction, securing copies of that digital evidence can potentially help you prove your claims.
Those who take the time to gather evidence while enduring misconduct in the workplace will have the best chance of successfully fighting back against the mistreatment they experience at work. Carefully recording the details of workplace discrimination or harassment will often be the first step toward fighting back against it.