Employees in California, or their representatives, have a right to view and obtain copies of their personnel files within 30 days of submitting written requests to their employers. Inspections must be made at reasonable times and intervals as determined by the employer. The Department of Labor Standards Enforcement advises that a reasonable interval is once per year unless there are extenuating circumstances that could affect an employee’s rights. Copying costs may be charged by the employer but not exceeding the actual cost of reproduction. Former employees have the same right.
Employers are required to maintain employee records for at least three years after termination of employment and to make a current employee’s record available at the place where the employee works. Former employees’ records must be made available at the location where the records are stored. In each case, a different location may be agreed to by the parties. If an employee was terminated for violations of law or employment policies, the employer may unilaterally designate a location for inspection other than the location of record storage, or may choose to mail the records.
Personnel record access for employees covered by collective bargaining agreements may be subject to the terms of the agreements.
Records that a current or former employee do not have a right to inspect or copy include letters of reference, employment or promotional test materials, any that were obtained prior to the employee’s employment, or any that relate to an investigation of possible criminal activity. If an employer does not permit employees or their representatives to inspect or copy records as required by law, it is subject to a $750.00 penalty payable to the employee, former employee, or the Labor Commissioner. Employees and former employees may also sue to force compliance and recover reasonable attorneys fees plus costs.
In addition to personnel records, employers are required to make payroll records available for inspection and copying. In this case, the employer must comply with a written or oral request within 21 days of request. As with personnel records, an employer is subject to a penalty for failure to comply. Contact us today to speak with an experienced labor law attorney in Sacramento.
Sacramento, CA 95821