Employees Given Greater Access to Personnel Records

11.2012
Employment Law Reporter, Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP

Effective January 1, 2013, Assembly Bill 2674 will amend Labor Code Section 1198.5, which pertains to an employee’s right to inspect certain personnel records. AB 2674 will also amend Labor Code Section 226 to require that a copy of the itemized wage statement actually provided to the employee be kept by the employer. Employers will also be required to maintain personnel records for at least three (3) years following termination of employment.

In terms of inspection, the new law provides that the right of inspection applies to both current and former employees. Further, such persons will now be entitled to receive a copy of records pertaining to their performance and/or to any grievance concerning the employee within thirty (30) days of making such a request. Requests for inspection must be made in writing and can also be made by a representative of the employee. Further, an employer form for making the request must be made available to an employee, or his or her representative, upon verbal request. Employers are permitted to redact the names of nonsupervisory
employees referenced in the records prior to making them available for inspection.

The employer may further charge the actual cost of reproduction if copies are requested. The employer is not required to provide documents during the pendency of a lawsuit against the employer brought by a former employee or current employee if the lawsuit relates to a personnel matter. Failure to comply with the request exposes the employer to injunctive relief, a penalty of
$750 collectable by the Labor Commissioner, and
attorneys’ fees.

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