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Employee Right to Inspect Personnel File

California Expands Employee Right to Personnel File

Former Employees Now Have Right to Inspect

California Labor Code Section 1198.5

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Assembly Bill (A.B.) 2674

[dcs_emptyspace h=”2″] [dcs_rounded_box padding=”15px” bgcolor=”#222222″ rounded=”12″] One of the first major changes in 12 years to California state law on discussion of personnel files was recently enacted on January 1, 2013.  one of the biggest changes seen is that former employees now have the same rights as do current employees to inspect the contents of the personnel files including the right to have copies made. The law specifically requires that employers allow employees and former employees access to their personnel files and records that relate to the employee’s performance or to any grievance concerning employee. This is specifically spelled out in California Labor Code Section 1198.5.
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Inspections

[dcs_emptyspace h=”2″] [dcs_rounded_box padding=”15px” bgcolor=”#222222″ rounded=”12″] Labor Code Section 1198.5 states that inspections must be allowed at reasonable times and intervals. To facilitate the inspections employers must do one of the following:
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  • Keep a copy of each employee’s personnel records at the place of where the employee reports to work;
  • make the personnel records available at the place where the employee reports to work with in a reasonable amount of time following the employees request, or;
  • permit the employee to inspect the records at the location where they are stored with no loss of compensation to the employee.
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    Employers Required to KEEP Employee Records

    [dcs_emptyspace h=”2″] [dcs_rounded_box padding=”15px” bgcolor=”#222222″ rounded=”12″] Employers are required to keep accurate payroll records on each employee, and such records must be made readily available for inspection by the employee upon reasonable request. Additionally, when a piece rate or incentive plan, such as a commission plan, is in operation piece rates or an explanation of the incentive plan formula shall be provided to the employee. The employer must maintain accurate production records. Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders: IWC Orders 1 through 15, Section 7, and IWC Order 16, Section 6.
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    Includes Anything that the Employee “Signed”

    [dcs_emptyspace h=”2″] [dcs_rounded_box padding=”15px” bgcolor=”#222222″ rounded=”12″] Employers are required to give an employee or job applicant, upon request, a copy of any instrument or document that the employee or the applicant has signed relating to the obtaining or holding of employment.  California Labor Code Section 432.
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    Payroll

    [dcs_emptyspace h=”2″] [dcs_rounded_box padding=”15px” bgcolor=”#222222″ rounded=”12″] Employers are required to permit current former employees to expect or copy payroll records pertaining to that current or former employee. Labor Code Section 226(b).
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    The “Request” by the Employee

    [dcs_emptyspace h=”2″] [dcs_rounded_box padding=”15px” bgcolor=”#222222″ rounded=”12″] The employee must provide either a written or oral quest into the employer to inspect or copy his or her payroll records.
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    Deadline for Employers to Comply

    [dcs_emptyspace h=”2″] [dcs_rounded_box padding=”15px” bgcolor=”#222222″ rounded=”12″] Any employer receives a written or oral request from a current or former employee to inspect or copy his or her payroll records shall comply with the request as soon as practicable, but no later than 21 calendar days from the date of request. A failure by an employer to permit a current or former employee to inspect or copy his or her payroll records within the 21 day. Entitles the current or former employee to recover a penalty from the employer in a civil action before a court of competent jurisdiction.  Labor Code Section 226(c) & 226(f).
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    How this relates to Investigation of Crimes

    [dcs_emptyspace h=”2″] [dcs_rounded_box padding=”15px” bgcolor=”#222222″ rounded=”12″] The right to inspect personnel files and write records does not apply to records relating to the investigation of possible criminal offense. also the right to inspect personnel files does not apply to records relating to letters of reference, or ratings, or reports, or records that were obtained prior to the employee’s employment or work prepared by an identifiable examination committee members, or were obtained in connection with a promotional exam.
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    How this relates to Exposure to Toxic Chemicals

    [dcs_emptyspace h=”2″] [dcs_rounded_box padding=”15px” bgcolor=”#222222″ rounded=”12″] Employers must provide employee access to accurate records of employee exposure to any potentially dangerous or toxic material, or harmful physical agents.
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    Employees of State Agencies

    [dcs_emptyspace h=”2″] [dcs_rounded_box padding=”15px” bgcolor=”#222222″ rounded=”12″] Employees of state agencies, with few exceptions, and public safety officers are exempted from the provisions of this labor code section.  However, other public employees are covered including those in the city, county, special district, community redevelopment agency, or other political subdivision of this state.
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    SAN DIEGO BUSINESS ATTORNEY FREE CONSULTATION

    Your situation is unique. Do not rely exclusively on the above information; it is necessary that you speak with a licensed California lawyer about your particular matter. For more information or to schedule a free confidential consultation with a San Diego business attorney, call (619) 800-0676 or fill out the contact page of this website.

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