California Employment Law
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California law actually requires that 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. (Labor Code Section 1198.5) 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.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to prevent an employer from altering or destroying part of a personnel file.
However, if it is apparent once the record is obtained that the record has been modified, this would be a serious offense and would be reportable to the Department of Labor.
An employer may face fines and sanctions for engaging in such illegal conduct.
It is unlikely that criminal charges would arise from this alone. However, if they attempted to rely upon the fabricated personnel report in a proceeding under oath, they would be committing perjury, which can be criminally prosecuted.
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