One of the biggest indicators that a potential lawsuit may be coming is receiving a “Personnel Records Request” from a former employee, commonly known as a personnel “file”. Currently, employers are required to maintain a copy of an employee’s personnel records for at least three years after termination of employment; but, because there are violations that have a four-year statute of limitations applicable in employment disputes, it is in an employer’s best interest to retain and maintain an employee’s personnel records for at least four years after the employee leaves employment, no matter the reason. An employer has limited time with which to produce an employee’s personnel records upon request from the employee. Failure to do so can expose the employer to financial penalties, increase the risk of a lawsuit, and be costly to the business.
As such, a Personnel Records Request should not be taken lightly or ignored. Employers should seek the advice of legal counsel immediately once a Personnel Records Request is received. Without seeking the advice of legal counsel, there is the potential that an employer will produce more information than necessary, incorrect information, or even information unrelated to the employee, all of which could ultimately become the subject of the former employee’s lawsuit or bring to light issues that were not known or of interest to the employee. Also, seeking out counsel early can help an employer understand whether or not they are adhering to California’s challenging employment laws and possibly cure mistakes before a lawsuit is initiated, result in pre-litigation settlement and thereby minimize risk for the business.
For more information on responding to a Personnel Records Request, please contact the Employer Lawyers at Chauvel & Glatt.
The 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 or promise similar outcomes. For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-573-9500.