If there is anything more difficult than experiencing ongoing sexual harassment in the workplace, it may be realizing that no one will believe the allegations without proof. Most sexual harassment occurs behind closed doors in situations where the victim has no witnesses to corroborate their claims.
Yet, there are still ways for people to prove they have experienced harassment and to hold specific individuals or employers that didn’t protect them accountable. Journals and other written records may leave some questions about what actually occurred. Audio or video recordings can eliminate any questions about what actually happened in a sexual harassment scenario.
Is it legal for someone enduring workplace harassment to make secret audio or video recordings to prove what has happened?
Texas has a one-party consent law
The laws in Texas regarding video and audio recording allow the state to prosecute individuals for a wiretapping offense if they make recordings of people without their knowledge or consent. Typically, at least one of the parties involved in a conversation with a reasonable expectation of privacy must consent to a recording in order for it to be legal.
An individual who wants to record inappropriate behavior from coworkers or a supervisor can potentially do so because they can consent to the audio or video recording. This, in theory, means that someone’s secret audio or video recordings, possibly captured on a mobile device, could serve as evidence of the other party’s misconduct and would not automatically lead to criminal prosecution for the individual who makes the recording.
Small mistakes can undermine a case
It can be very difficult for an individual experiencing harassment in the workplace to know how to protect themselves and how to get their employer to take action. Texas workers enduring a hostile work environment or frequently experiencing quid pro quo harassment attempts may want to learn more about employment laws and other rules that could influence the steps they take to protect themselves.
Having documentation of workplace misconduct is a critical starting point for those that want to hold an employer accountable for the sexual harassment they have experienced. Seeking legal guidance before making a recording is generally wise.