Q. One of my employees recently asked me, in person, if she could view her personnel records. What does California law require?
A. Under California law, once you receive a written request from the employee, you are obligated to allow an employee (current or former) to view and receive a copy of the personnel files and records that relate to the employee’s performance or to any grievance concerning the employee. Within 30 days of the request, you must allow inspection of the records, provide a copy to the employee or both.
Several requirements govern inspection of personnel records, but there are three mandatory steps you must take to facilitate such records inspection:
- Maintain a copy of each employee’s personnel records for no less than three years after the employment relationship has ended.
- Make a current employee’s personnel records available for inspection, and if requested by the employee or representative, provide a copy at the place where the employee reports to work or at another location agreeable to the employer and the requester. However, having the employee inspect the records in a location other than the place where the employee reports to work cannot result in loss of compensation for the employee.
- Make a former employee’s personnel records available for inspection, and if requested by the employee or representative, provide a copy at the location where the employer stores the records, unless the parties mutually agree in writing to a different location.
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