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I have a question about employment law and wrongful

hello! JA: Hi. How can I...
hello!
JA: Hi. How can I help?
Customer: I have a question about employment law and wrongful termination. I was fired because of the content of a recorded conversation. I did not consent to any recorded conversation or audio devices in my place of work; they were hidden. I am wondering if I was wrongly terminated. (I am in california, by the way)
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: California =)
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: i do not have a contract. so i think that may mean full time.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: nothing now, thank you! ok, thank you.
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
10/24/2017
Patrick, Esq.
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,176
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Verified

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

If you had no reason to believe your conversation was being recorded, that would make the recording illegal, subjecting your employer to criminal charges for illegal wiretapping. The law also permits victims of illegal recordings to recover a civil penalty "for the greater of the following amounts: (1) Five thousand dollars ($5,000). (2) Three times the amount of actual damages, if any, sustained by the plaintiff." (Cal. Penal Code § 637.2.)

If you lost your job as a result of the recording, you could certainly make the argument that your lost wages for so long as you remain unemployed while conducting diligent efforts to find new work are your "actual damage," and thus, that you are entitled to those damages multiplied by three under the statute.

I would consult with a local attorney as soon as possible.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you for your quick response. My concern is that this recording was taken on a video camera that is obvious. However, I was not aware of any audio recording. I also never consented to either being videotaped or audio recorded. The camera exists for asset-protection reasons, not (to my knowledge) for employee tracking.

Thank you.

So the law only prohibits recordings without consent when the recording is of a "confidential communication." If you had reason to believe that your audio may be recorded, the recording would not be illegal. Likewise, if you were being recorded in a place where anyone could overhear you, it is likely that this would not be regarded as a confidential recording since you could not expect what you say to actually be confidential.

Now, these are FACTUAL questions that can only be resolved in consideration of the unique circumstances of your case. A jury will get to consider what the video camera looked like, whether it had any apparent microphone, whether it is "common knowledge" that video surveillance cameras record audio, whether you were in a place that would have led you to believe what you said was confidential, and other things along these lines. Ultimately, if you can convince a jury that you had reason to believe what you were saying was confidential (i.e. you could not have known you were being recorded and you were essentially having private conversations), you can prevail on the theory that your converations were illegally recorded and collect damages under that statute.

Otherwise, though, and employment is "at will" and you can be terminated for what was said.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Does your last statement refute any possibility that I was wrongfully terminated?

"Wrongful termination" is not really a legal claim, it just refers to a subset of legal claims in which termination was motivated by reasons which violated the law.

Here, termination did not violate the law--employment is at will absent an agreement to the contrary and can be terminated because an employee made comments the employer disapproved of. Your claim is not that termination was illegal but that the RECORDING was illegal. And since the statute that makes recordings illegal permits you to recover your damages multiplied by three, THAT is the legal basis for your claim.

I hope all this does not confuse you, but what I am trying to clarify is that this is not a "wrongful termination." It is a claim based on the statute which makes it illegal to record someone. So, your entitlement to recover any damages likely hinges completely on whether the recording was legal or not.

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You should retain a local attorney. There are some complex legal and factual questions here and it would be a mistake to try and resolve this on your own. There is likely enough to go on here to negotiate some sort of severance/settlement and an attorney can put you in the best position to do that.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Oh, I understand. Thank you very much for clarifying. I am going to look into an attorney now. Thanks for your clear answers!

You are most welcome. If I have answered your questions, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service (using the stars at the top of the page) so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Very best wishes and good luck with your claim.

Patrick, Esq.
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,176
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Verified
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