If you’re thinking about clearing out old employee records – think again! California’s Labor Code requires employers to maintain employee personnel records for no less than three years following termination of employment. Given certain claims go back further, employers should keep records for 4 years past termination as a best practice.
Once per year a former employee can request to inspect or receive a copy of their personnel records, and the employer must comply with the request. What it means to “inspect” or to “receive” can be complicated and varies depending on the circumstances leading to termination of employment, but there are always strict timelines for compliance. Importantly, failure to timely comply with a request for personnel records can leave the employer subject to a $750 fine, and the statute even provides the employee with the ability to seek injunctive relief to force employer compliance, in which the employee may further recover the cost of their reasonable attorney’s fees associated with the legal action.
Further complication lies in the definition of “personnel records” itself because some documents need not be produced at all. Bottom line- it is important to seek legal counsel upon any receipt of a request for personnel records. While these requests are usually made prior to any lawsuit being filed, they can indicate future steps being taken by an employee to litigate or to make a pre-litigation demand against an employer. The Employer Lawyers at Chauvel & Glatt are very familiar with the intricacies involved in responding to a personnel record request, its contents and are prepared to assist you with proper compliance of such a request.
This material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute legal advice. For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-573-9500 for legal assistance near you. (Photo Credit: depositphotos.com)