An architect is suing her former boss for allegedly filming her pumping sessions in the workplace. Jessica Clark of Linn County, Iowa has filed a lawsuit against Robert C. Carlson, her former boss at Carlson Design Team. Before the incident in question, Jessica had worked faithfully at CDT for ten years. In 2015, Jessica gave birth to her first child and pumped breastmilk after returning to work. Three years later, Jessica welcomed a second child in January 2018. After her maternity leave ended, Jessica returned to work at CDT and began pumping again. She would routinely reserve the company’s conference room for pumping sessions throughout the workday.
Clark decided to use the conference room to pump because it was the only room in the office other than the bathrooms that locked. After a while, Clark started to notice a trend that was tracking along with her conference room reservations. The firm’s boss, Robert C. Carlson, would routinely book the same room just before Clark’s scheduled pumping.
“When I went to pump that day, he had just gone in there to make a personal phone call. Then he left for a meeting."
She immediately felt what she refers to as a “spider sense” feeling that something was not as it should be. Clark went about her business, pumping breastmilk for her daughter’s bottles. After the pumping session, she searched the conference room, looking behind the television, under the table, and behind art posters on the wall. Finally, she noticed a file folder sitting on the chair next to her. A pen was clipped to the file folder.
Jessica noticed the pen didn’t seem to work. When she clicked it, nothing happened. Suspicious, she Googled the term “spy pen”. The pen in her hand was the first search result, confirming the “spider sense” she had felt. But Clark didn’t stop there.
After finding directions for the pen’s use, Clark was able to connect the pen to the conference room tablet and review footage of herself pumping breastmilk minutes earlier.
“I couldn’t believe that it happened, but at the same time, it was affirming that I did feel this way and this did happen.”
Clark contacted the Iowa City police department and turned over the recording device after filing a report.
Police searched Robert C. Carlson’s home on December 18th with a warrant to seize digital storage devices. Items seized include a computer, two laptops, several USB drives, disks, documents, a mobile phone, & more than one digital camera. Authorities have confirmed the criminal investigation is still ongoing. Iowa City police officer Matt Young describes the content of the spy pen video in an affidavit.
“The video shows at the beginning what appears to be a male’s hand setting up and activating the recording device. Sometime later, the victim comes into the conference room and is seen taking off her shirt to where she is only wearing a bra. The victim is then seen attaching the pumping apparatus to her breasts and then proceeds to pump breast milk.”
Clark’s lawsuit was filed earlier this month. It claims Clark has suffered sexual harassment, sex discrimination, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Both 67-year-old Robert C. Carlson and the firm, Carlson Design Team, are named in the lawsuit.