Warm Up The Xerox, California

By Sarah Peace

Employers beware, the California legislature, through A.B. 2674, has further eroded employers’ control over their personnel records.  Beginning January 1, 2013, upon request, employers (even outside California) must provide current and former California employees or their representatives with a copy of all records pertaining to the individual’s employment within 21 calendar days of the request.

There is an exception to this mandate if the demand is made during a lawsuit, or if a qualifying collective bargaining agreement sets forth a different procedure for the inspection and copying of such records.  Employers also must develop a written form for employees to request access to, and a copy of, their records.

If an employer violates this mandate? The California employee or former employee passes GO and collects $750 from the company coffers.  What else?  Watch out for an injunction and order of attorneys’ fees.

Also, note that the law requires employers to preserve California employees’ personnel files for three years following their separation from employment.  Unhelpfully, the statute omits both a definition of “personnel file” and a description of its contents.

Any good news?  California employees must foot the copying costs.  Happy New Year, employers!

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