DON’T HIDE THE BALL « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Employers Should Not Ignore Records Requests

California requires employers to provide an accurate, itemized statement with each wage payment or twice monthly.  Labor Code 226(a) specifies wage statement contents, such as ● employer’s name and address; ● employee’s name; ● last four digits of employee’s social security number or other suitable identifying number; ● hours worked; ● pay rates; and ● gross and net wages earned. See, Ignore at Your Own Peril – Overlooked Pay Stub Requirements Can Lead to Trouble (February 23, 2018).

Labor Code 226(f) and (h) permits a current or former employee to “inspect or copy” such pay records within 21 calendar days of written request. An employer’s failure to make the deadline may entitle the worker to recover a $750 penalty plus reasonable attorney’s fees.

Likewise, Labor Code 1198.5(b)(1) allows a current or former employee “to inspect and receive a copy of personnel records that relate to the employee’s performance or to any grievance concerning the employee.” Response must be within 30 days of the date the employer receives the written request, with a possible agreed extension to no more than 35 days. Section 1198.5(k) permits the employee to recover a $750 penalty against a non-complying employer plus attorney fees and costs.

Counsel representing employees commonly send such requests as a preliminary to litigation.   Records showing compliant wage practices can convince an attorney there is nothing to pursue.  Even if an employer’s records are incomplete, it is better to respond as required and maintain communication toward resolution of any issues. Ignoring such requests invites penalties and suspicion and does nothing to head off a lawsuit.

See also:

For more information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Helena Kobrin
July 16, 2021

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