Employee Personnel Files
According to California Labor Code Section 1198.5, an employee may inspect and obtain a copy of their personnel records maintained by the employer relating to employee performance or any issue concerning the employee.
A request for such records must be in writing. Employers need to give the employee a prepared form for such a request.
Employees may ask to inspect their files or obtain a copy. When providing a copy, an employer may charge the employee for the actual cost of preparing the copies.
Employers are required to make the personnel file available for viewing or give the employee a copy of the file within
30 calendar days
of receiving the written request.
Under Labor Code Section 226 employees also have the right to inspect or receive a copy of their payroll records. When responding to this type of request, the employer must offer copies of the itemized wage statements received by the employee or a computer-generated document that contains all the information provided by wage statements.
Prior to January 1, 2019 employees had the right to inspect or
their own records. The law was modified effective January 1, 2019 so that employees have the right to inspect or
a copy of their records. This means that employers must provide the copy and can’t require the employee to make their own copy.
An employer may charge an employee the actual cost of copying if providing a copy of payroll records, just as with personnel files.
A request for payroll records is different from that of personnel records in two ways:
• A request for payroll records can be written or oral.
• An employer has only
21 calendar days
from the date of the request to provide the payroll records, compared to
30 calendar days
for personnel records.
Failing to meet these due dates may result in a penalty of $750 for each violation.