Employers in California no longer can get away with keeping personnel records hidden from their employees and former employees. Starting in 2013, employees who work a job in San Diego can count on taking regular opportunities to inspect the records the employer keeps and learn all information kept on record, and the exact nature of the information.
An assembly bill passed last year with votes by San Diego Democrats Marty Block, Ben Hueso, and V. Manuel Perez, clarified that employees have a right to inspect and copy their records.
No opportunity to get the information on record will be lost when a employee defends a right given to them by a state or federal statute. Employees can take action to learn the information recorded in a file on work performance, and on any grievances experienced on the job, at any time.
Even when an employment deal is done, and the employee has left, the employer who paid for the worker's productivity must keep the records on the employee for 3 years. The Labor Code now tells employers a record must be made available within 21 days after an employee's request.
Crucial information that can change the understanding of an employment situation will always stay open to reading. Employer failures to help employees act upon their right, however, will get stopped using a lesser crime an punishment. A failure to hand over the records is an infraction the Labor Commissioner can give an employer a 750 dollar fine on for the final punishment.
California in the past guarded against deceptive file handling by handing out fines and imprisonment for a misdemeanor crime any time the labor law was broken.
Requests for getting in to the files to find information must be made in writing or using a form an employer has obligation to give to an employee. No more than 50 requests can burden an employer during one month, unless they agree to hand over as much information on record as the employee asks for.
This is a Center Line Policy Alert.