What rights do I have pertaining to my personnel files and records at work?


California law provides that current and former employees (or a representative) have the right to inspect and receive a copy of the personnel files and records that relate to the employee’s performance or to any grievance concerning the employee. Inspections must not be later than 30 days from the date the employer receives a written request. Upon a written request, the employer needs to provide a copy of the personal records, at a charge not more than the actual cost of reproduction.

To facilitate inspection, employer must do all of the following:
1. Maintain a copy of each employee’s personnel records for no less than 3 years.
2. Make a current/former employee’s personnel records available, and if requested, provide a copy at the place where the employee reports to work or at another location agreeable to the employer and the requester.

However, by law, the right to inspect does NOT apply to: records relating to the investigation of a possible criminal offense, letters of reference, and ratings, reports, or records that were obtained prior to employment or obtained in connection with a promotional examination.

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Questions about your rights at the workplace? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit

Associational Disability Discrimination


Employees may now have a claim against an employer that discriminates an employee because of his or her association with a disabled person.

In a recent case, when an employee was hired, he informed the employer that he planned to donate a kidney to his physically disabled sister. When the employee learned that the Donation Protection Act (DPA) would take effect on January 1, 2011, he requested paid leave to do so. The employee received satisfactory performance reviews and posed no disciplinary problems. Just 2 days before the DPA became effective, the employee was terminated for poor performance. The employee sued the employer for discrimination on the basis of his association with his physically disabled sister. The trial court dismissed the case but the appellate court upheld the associational claim.

As the Court of Appeals noted, associational discrimination has been the subject of very little litigation. The 7th Circuit identified 3 types of associational discrimination:

1. Expense– for example, when an employee is fired because his spouse has a disability and is covered by the company’s health plan.

2. Disability by Association– for example, when an employee’s homosexual companion has HIV and the employer fears that the employee also has been infected.

3. Distraction– for example, when the employee is somewhat inattentive at work because his child has a disability that requires his attention.

PRACTICAL TIP: An employer that discriminates against an employee because of his or her association with a disabled person is liable even if the motivation is purely monetary.

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If you or anyone you know has any questions regarding discrimination by association, Call the Law Offices of Payab & Associates at (800) 401-4466 or visit our website at: