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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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An employee (a non-exempt employee) of our company (in California)

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An employee (a non-exempt employee) of our company (in California) submitted her resignation letter today and got her final pay check. She also wants to have all the original records in her file given to her. I gave her copies (I-9, W-4, etc). But she still wants to have the originals. I, from the HR Dept, hesitate to do as she requested. I think that an employer should keep the employment records for at least 3 years. Shall I give her the originals, or, the copies suffice already? Please advise. Thank you very much!
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

With regard to employment files, an employee has the right to copies of his or her payroll records and signed job-related documents. (Labor Code sections 226 and 432) An employee has no basis to demand original documents.

In regard to all other documents within an employee's "personnel file," an employer must permit the employee access to such documents but need not provide the employee with copies or originals. (Labor Code 1198.5)

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, I would be most grateful if you would remember to provide my service a positive rating, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Very best wishes and happy holidays to you.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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