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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37871
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I am a remote employee (Home Office). can I request my employer

Customer Question

I am a remote employee (Home Office). can I request my employer to forward a copy of my employment file?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 5 years ago.
Cal. Labor Code 1198.5(c) requires that an employer make an employee's personnel file available for inspection pursuant to the following conditions:

  1. Keep a copy of each employee's personnel records at the place where the employee reports to work.
  2. Make the employee's personnel records available at the place where the employee reports to work within a reasonable period of time following an employee's request.
  3. Permit the employee to inspect the personnel records at the location where the employer stores the personnel records, with no loss of compensation to the employee.
As you are a "home office" worker, the question is where do you report to work? You could argue that it's at your home, and the employer can argue it's at the location where your manager works.

Unfortunately, there is no case law interpreting this dilemma. The only thing that you can do would be to make your request in writing, to have the file sent to your home as that is where you "report to work," and if the employer refuses, then you would have to file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and see if the DLSE will support your interpretation of the law.

Hope this helps.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Would it be reasonable to request a photo copy be made and mailed to me at my home office?
Expert:  socrateaser replied 5 years ago.
It's reasonable, but the law boils down to the issue of "where do you report to work?" There's simply no easy answer to that, without a judge involved, and the fastest way to get a judge involved is to complain to the DLSE. The investigator may tell you that DLSE believes you have to visit the employer, and if so, then you're stuck -- unless you want to sue, in which case you will be spending significant time and money fighting over this.

The law does state that the employer cannot reduce the employee's compensation while inspecting the file. This, arguably could be used to require payment for your travel time, since that's the only way you can inspect the file. Once again, without the DLSE involved, you will be fighting about this in court.

Hope this helps.

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