Frequent Questions from Employers Regarding California’s Personnel File Law

  • May 22, 2017

We frequently receive phone calls from employers asking their responsibilities under the ever-expanding California laws regarding employee personnel files.  Below is a summary of the top five (5) most frequent questions we are asked by employers: Does an Employee or Former Employee Have Right to Inspect Their Personnel File? Yes, both current and former employees have the right to inspect their personnel file.  A current employee has the right to inspect their personnel file “at [a] reasonable time and intervals.”  There is no specific definition as to what constitutes “at [a] reasonable time and intervals.”  However, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has interpreted this clause to mean once a year, unless there is reason to believe the file has been altered in an adverse manner or is pertinent to an ongoing investigation (in which case a more frequent review may be permitted). Likewise, a former employee has a right to inspect their personnel file. The request by both former and current employees should be made in writing. How Long After Someone Leaves Do I Have to Maintain Their Personnel File? The statute requires a three (3) year minimum to maintain records.  However, a more prudent practice would be.......

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