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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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I was recently terminated. Can I send a relative or a friend

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I was recently terminated. Can I send a relative or a friend to act as my representative in obtaining a copy of my personnel file, even if they are not a licensed attorney? If so, what should will my representative need to present to HR in order for them to allow them access to my personnel file?
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

No, unfortunately, an employer would most likely not release your personnel file to anyone but you. So a relative or a friend cannot be sent to act as your representative to pick up your employment record. Employers are only legally obligated to release information in an employee's personnel file to the employee, and they would likely not want to release it to a friend or family member due to the potential that this disclosure (even if authorized by you) could violate your privacy rights or your HIPPA rights, and could expose them to considerable liability.

However, if you want to avoid any further contact with your employer, you can send a request for a written copy of your employment records to your employer. Your employer is required to respond to your request as soon as possible, but no later than 21 days after it receives your request.

If they fail to comply to your request within 21 days, you can sue them for violating Labor Code Section 226:

(c) An employer who receives a written or oral request to inspect or copy records pursuant to subdivision (b) pertaining to a current or former employee shall comply with the request as soon as practicable, but no later than 21 calendar days from the date of the request. A violation of this subdivision is an infraction. Impossibility of performance, not caused by or a result of a violation of law, shall be an affirmative defense for an employer in any action alleging a violation of this subdivision. An employer may designate the person to whom a request under this subdivision will be made.

I hope the above information is helpful.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Thanks and best of luck!

Joseph and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your help and prompt reply.


I emailed my HR representative 2 weeks ago requesting a copy of my personnel file. Initially she said she would send it to me (I'm OK w/ a soft copy by email) then recanted and said I need to come to the office and pay per copy.


As you allude to, I don't want to have any additional contact with my ex-employer who terminated me abruptly without warning. If I prefer a copy sent to me without having to go in person, can I require this option?




No, unfortunately, the law does not specifically require an employer send you a copy of your records (only that they make them available for inspection and copying), but they may do so if you give them a written request and you offer to pay for the copying. Just make sure to put the request in writing (email doesn't count). The employer could have you pay for the cost whether by billing you or having you send in a check to cover the cost of copying prior to them doing so.

You are also free to ask if someone can pick up yours records for you. Like I said, there is no legal obligation for an employer to do so, and it amy not want to due to the potential liability that the employer would face in disclosing certain information about you,. However, that doesn't mean that there is any legal restriction that actually states an employer cannot give your employment record n to an authorized representative.

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