Upon An Employee's Request, Which Documents Does An Employer Have To Show And/or Copy?

Employers are obligated only to provide copies of any documents signed by the employee or applicant relating to their job. Labor Code section 432.

Employees are allowed to inspect other categories of documents. For example, Labor Code Section 1198.5 requires employers allow employees and former employees access to their personnel files and records that relate to the employee’s performance or to any grievance concerning the employee. Inspections must be allowed at reasonable times and intervals. To facilitate the inspection, employers must do one of the following: (1) keep a copy of each employee’s personnel records at the place where the employee reports to work, (2) make the personnel records available at the place where the employee reports to work within a reasonable amount of time following the employee’s request, or (3) permit the employee to inspect the records at the location where they are stored with no loss of compensation to the employee.

Employers are required to permit current and former employees to inspect or copy payroll records pertaining to that current or former employee. Labor Code Section 226(b). Starting on January 1, 2003, an employer who receives a written or oral request from a current or former employee to inspect or copy his or her payroll records shall comply with the request as soon as practicable, but no later than 21 calendar days from the date of the request. Failure to comply with the request entitles the employee to a $750 civil fine. Labor Code Section 226, subdivisions (c) and (f)

There are limits to the documents that an applicant or employee can inspect from his or her file. The employee does not have the right to inspect records relating to the investigation of a possible criminal offense, letters of reference, or ratings, reports, or records that (a) were obtained prior to the employee’s employment, (b) were prepared by identifiable examination committee members, or (c) were obtained in connection with a promotional exam.
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