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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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I am a temporary employee working for a public entity in the

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I am a temporary employee working for a public entity in the State of California. I do not work for a temporary agency. For the past three months, I have been verbally mistreated four co-workers. I have been documenting (written) their actions and statements. One co-worker, in particular, always speaks AT and DOWN toward me in a demeaning tone of voice with great intensity in his/her eyes. This person acts and speaks normal toward other co-workers and superiors; however, this person chooses to treat me differently and in a disrespectful manner. It is this person’s delivery of his/her words that is extraordinarily disturbing. I would like to record this person’s facial expression, body language, and tone of voice, which would help me with documenting this person’s toxic communication. But, I don’t want to do anything illegal. Is it legal for me to secretly record this person (at a public entity) when he/she speaks to me? If not, is it legal for me to record the conversation, so I can better provide written documentation, and not use the electronic device as evidence of mistreatment? Also, is it legal for me to use my phone to record discussions at staff meetings, which I would use just for my notes?
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

Since the conversations would be taking place in public at your employer's, you can record the conversations without the other person's consent as evidence of mistreatment.

You can also use your phone to record discussions at staff meetings for your notes.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for your answer! I just want to make sure I understand clearly. Because this is a public entity I am working for, it is legal for me to record my face-to-face conversations with this person -- without the other person's consent -- even in the office?


BTW, I was typing so fast I forgot to add the word "by" after the word "mistreated" in the third sentence.



Yes, since the conversation is taking place in the workplace, where there is a diminished expectation of privacy, it is legal for you to record the face-to-face conversation without the other person's consent.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you! This may be trivial, but I just want to make sure -- I need to mention that my employer put up a "bullet proof" glass wall between the front office and the lobby area where the public comes in and waits. Would this wall be an exception to the diminished expectation of privacy at a public agency?
No, this wouldn't constitute an exception to the diminsihed expectation of privacy in the workplace.
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