Effective January 1, 2013, California law provides that current and former employees (or a representative) have the right to inspect and receive a copy of the personnel files and records that relate to the employee's performance or to any grievance concerning the employee. Labor Code 1198.5. Labor Code section 1198 (n) and (o). That’s right—employers can be sued (or even face criminal liability) over how they did, or did not, respond to personnel file requests. Within the last few years, the California Legislature has amended laws related to an employee’s right to inspect personnel records, intending to ensure employees have access to those records. However, if you are required to travel to the location where the records are stored, the inspection must be during a time when you are required to render services to the employer, and you must be compensated for that time at your regular rate of  pay. The right to inspect a personnel file under section 1198. Employees may inspect those personnel file/records at “reasonable times and intervals.” To facilitate the, an employer must do the following: Maintain a copy of each employee’s personnel records for no less than 3 years. Again, this is within the court system not DLSE. One of the largest and most active bankruptcy and creditors’ rights legal practices in the Southwest and California, representing clients locally, regionally, and nationally. Failure by an employer to permit a current or former employee to inspect or copy his or her payroll records within the 21 calendar day period entitles the current or former employee to recover a penalty from the employer in a civil action before a court of competent jurisdiction. Covered documents: As mentioned, Section 432 covers any document the employee signed related to “obtaining” or “holding” employment. added). No. If a former employee seeking to inspect his or her personnel records was terminated for a violation of law, or an employment-related policy, involving harassment or workplace violence, the employer may comply with the request by doing one of the following: (1) making the personnel records available to the former employee for inspection at a location other than the workplace that is within a reasonable driving distance of the former employee’s residence, (2) providing a copy of the personnel records by mail. Since then, employers have seen more such requests, claims made before the Labor Commissioner, and even lawsuits over production of personnel files. This was particularly to allow the employees access to their records. A former employee, or her attorney, sends you a letter demanding copies of the employee’s personnel file and pay records. A record will be maintained of all individuals and agencies requesting information from personnel files. Since then, employers have seen more such requests, claims made before the Labor Commissioner, and even lawsuits over production of personnel files. Labor Code Section 432, Employers are required to permit current and former employees to inspect or copy payroll records pertaining to that current or former employee. The inclusion of this provision strongly suggests that Section 1198.5 is not a replacement for broad civil discovery. Labor Code § … The right to inspect a personnel file under section 1198.5 stops once a lawsuit is filed. A former employee may receive a copy by mail if he or she reimburses the employer for actual postal expenses. Nevertheless, the statute excludes certain files. Indeed, personnel issues often implicate attorney-client privilege, attorney work-product, proprietary information, and privacy issues. BUSINESS LITIGATION. About That Trade Secret Leak: It’s From Inside The Business! Section 226 requires California employers to furnish employees with itemized wage statements that show nine (9) specific categories of information, such as all hourly rates, hours worked, gross wages earned, etc. Seyfarth Synopsis: Within the last few years, the California Legislature has amended laws related to an employee's right to inspect personnel records, intending to ensure employees have access to those records. If employment records are subpoenaed, the employee must be notified and has the right to object to production of the records. The Peculiar “Personnel-ity” of California Personnel File Inspection Laws. More often than not, the call concerns a former employee, the request is from the employee’s attorney, and it is the precursor to a lawsuit. Right to Inspect Personnel Files California gives employees and former employees the right to inspect any personnel records relating to their performance or to any grievance concerning them. You may want to inspect your personnel file for multiple reasons. Chapter 9.7 - PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS . Click to share this page Click for PDF Click to print this page. If the employee is required to inspect or receive a copy at a location other than the place where he or she reports to work, no loss of compensation to the employee is permitted, (3) make a former employee's personnel records available for inspection, and if requested by the employee or representative, provide a copy at the location where the employer stores the records, unless the parties mutually agree in writing to a different location. What Makes California Employment Law Different ... and How to Deal With It. 1. Upon request, the employer must provide those documents. Your company receives a letter from a former employee (or a lawyer) asking to inspect the personnel file or “employment records.” What (if anything) should you do in response? A former employee may receive a copy by mail if he or she reimburses the employer for actual postal expenses. Click to share this page Click for PDF Click to print this page. For example, if an employee (or former employee) files a lawsuit that “relates to a personnel matter” against the employer, then the right to inspect or copy the records ceases during the pendency of the lawsuit. Right to Inspect Personnel Files. An employee may also bring an action for injunctive relief to ensure compliance and recover costs and reasonable attorney’s fees. The new requirements become effective January 1, 2013. In California, three principal statutes govern employee requests to inspect personnel records—Labor Code §§ 1198.5, 226, and 432. (a) Every employee has the right to inspect personnel records pursuant to Section 1198.5 of the Labor Code. California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law new requirements specifying when and how employers must respond to their employees’ requests for inspection and copying of their personnel files. To examine, inspect and/or copy any records reflecting my employment history, including records of my education, personnel history, supervisory or organizational … Criminal offense, responding to personnel file Checklist Use this form when employees wish to review the contents of personnel. Employer shall make the contents of their personnel files for every employee has the right to.... Based on what is in the recent past, the employee within twenty-one ( 21 ).., a personnel file Click to print this page copies of documents but! Employer responds to these requests: It ’ s file counter hours Monday... Employee mentioned in the recent past, the employee within twenty-one ( 21 days... 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