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AB-2674 Employment records: right to inspect.(2011-2012)

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AB2674:v92#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 2674
CHAPTER 842

An act to amend Sections 226 and 1198.5 of the Labor Code, relating to employment.

[ Approved by Governor  September 30, 2012. Filed with Secretary of State  September 30, 2012. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2674, Swanson. Employment records: right to inspect.
(1) Existing law requires that every employer, semimonthly or at the time of each payment of wages, furnish to each of his or her employees, either as a detachable part of the check, draft, or voucher paying the employee’s wages, or separately when wages are paid by personal check or cash, an accurate itemized statement in writing showing specified items. Existing law requires an employer to keep a copy of the statement and the record of deductions on file for at least 3 years at the place of employment or at a central location within the State of California.
This bill would provide that the term “copy,” for purposes of these provisions, includes a duplicate of the itemized statement provided to an employee or a computer-generated record that accurately shows all of the information that existing law requires to be included in the itemized statement.
(2) Under existing law, an employee has the right to inspect the personnel records that his or her employer maintains relating to the employee’s performance or to any grievance concerning the employee.
This bill would require an employer to maintain personnel records for a specified period of time and to provide a current or former employee, or his or her representative, an opportunity to inspect and receive a copy of those records within a specified period of time, except during the pendency of a lawsuit filed by the employee or former employer relating to a personnel matter. The bill would provide that an employer is not required to comply with more than 50 requests for a copy of the above-described records filed by a representative or representatives of employees in one calendar month. The bill would provide that the above provisions shall not apply with respect to an employee covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement if the agreement provides, among other things, for a procedure for inspection and copying of personnel records. In the event an employer violates these provisions, the bill would permit a current or former employee or the Labor Commissioner to recover a penalty of $750 from the employer, and would further permit a current or former employee to obtain injunctive relief and attorney’s fees.
Under existing law, an employer who fails to permit an employee to inspect the employee’s personnel records is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine or imprisonment, as specified.
This bill would, instead, provide that a violation of the above provisions requiring that personnel records be made available for inspection constitutes an infraction. Although this bill would change a violation of the above provisions requiring that personnel records be made available for inspection from a misdemeanor to an infraction, by expanding the scope of what would constitute an infraction, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(3) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
(4) This bill would incorporate changes to Section 226 of the Labor Code proposed by AB 1744 and SB 1255, to be operative only if this bill and either or both of those bills are chaptered and became effective on or before January 1, 2013, and this bill is chaptered last.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 226 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

226.
 (a) Every employer shall, semimonthly or at the time of each payment of wages, furnish each of his or her employees, either as a detachable part of the check, draft, or voucher paying the employee’s wages, or separately when wages are paid by personal check or cash, an accurate itemized statement in writing showing (1) gross wages earned, (2) total hours worked by the employee, except for any employee whose compensation is solely based on a salary and who is exempt from payment of overtime under subdivision (a) of Section 515 or any applicable order of the Industrial Welfare Commission, (3) the number of piece-rate units earned and any applicable piece rate if the employee is paid on a piece-rate basis, (4) all deductions, provided that all deductions made on written orders of the employee may be aggregated and shown as one item, (5) net wages earned, (6) the inclusive dates of the period for which the employee is paid, (7) the name of the employee and the last four digits of his or her social security number or an employee identification number other than a social security number, (8) the name and address of the legal entity that is the employer and, if the employer is a farm labor contractor, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1682, the name and address of the legal entity that secured the services of the employer, and (9) all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee. The deductions made from payment of wages shall be recorded in ink or other indelible form, properly dated, showing the month, day, and year, and a copy of the statement and the record of the deductions shall be kept on file by the employer for at least three years at the place of employment or at a central location within the State of California. For purposes of this subdivision, “copy” includes a duplicate of the itemized statement provided to an employee or a computer-generated record that accurately shows all of the information required by this subdivision.
(b) An employer that is required by this code or any regulation adopted pursuant to this code to keep the information required by subdivision (a) shall afford current and former employees the right to inspect or copy records pertaining to their employment, upon reasonable request to the employer. The employer may take reasonable steps to ensure the identity of a current or former employee. If the employer provides copies of the records, the actual cost of reproduction may be charged to the current or former employee.
(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.
(d) This section does not apply to any employer of any person employed by the owner or occupant of a residential dwelling whose duties are incidental to the ownership, maintenance, or use of the dwelling, including the care and supervision of children, or whose duties are personal and not in the course of the trade, business, profession, or occupation of the owner or occupant.
(e) An employee suffering injury as a result of a knowing and intentional failure by an employer to comply with subdivision (a) is entitled to recover the greater of all actual damages or fifty dollars ($50) for the initial pay period in which a violation occurs and one hundred dollars ($100) per employee for each violation in a subsequent pay period, not exceeding an aggregate penalty of four thousand dollars ($4,000), and is entitled to an award of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
(f) A failure by an employer to permit a current or former employee to inspect or copy records within the time set forth in subdivision (c) entitles the current or former employee or the Labor Commissioner to recover a seven-hundred-fifty-dollar ($750) penalty from the employer.
(g) The listing by an employer of the name and address of the legal entity that secured the services of the employer in the itemized statement required by subdivision (a) shall not create any liability on the part of that legal entity.
(h) An employee may also bring an action for injunctive relief to ensure compliance with this section, and is entitled to an award of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
(i) This section does not apply to the state, to any city, county, city and county, district, or to any other governmental entity, except that if the state or a city, county, city and county, district, or other governmental entity furnishes its employees with a check, draft, or voucher paying the employee’s wages, the state or a city, county, city and county, district, or other governmental entity shall use no more than the last four digits of the employee’s social security number or shall use an employee identification number other than the social security number on the itemized statement provided with the check, draft, or voucher.

SEC. 1.3.

 Section 226 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

226.
 (a) Every employer shall, semimonthly or at the time of each payment of wages, furnish each of his or her employees, either as a detachable part of the check, draft, or voucher paying the employee’s wages, or separately when wages are paid by personal check or cash, an accurate itemized statement in writing showing (1) gross wages earned, (2) total hours worked by the employee, except for any employee whose compensation is solely based on a salary and who is exempt from payment of overtime under subdivision (a) of Section 515 or any applicable order of the Industrial Welfare Commission, (3) the number of piece-rate units earned and any applicable piece rate if the employee is paid on a piece-rate basis, (4) all deductions, provided that all deductions made on written orders of the employee may be aggregated and shown as one item, (5) net wages earned, (6) the inclusive dates of the period for which the employee is paid, (7) the name of the employee and the last four digits of his or her social security number or an employee identification number other than a social security number, (8) the name and address of the legal entity that is the employer and, if the employer is a farm labor contractor, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1682, the name and address of the legal entity that secured the services of the employer, and (9) all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee. The deductions made from payment of wages shall be recorded in ink or other indelible form, properly dated, showing the month, day, and year, and a copy of the statement and the record of the deductions shall be kept on file by the employer for at least three years at the place of employment or at a central location within the State of California. For purposes of this subdivision, “copy” includes a duplicate of the itemized statement provided to an employee or a computer-generated record that accurately shows all of the information required by this subdivision.
(b) An employer that is required by this code or any regulation adopted pursuant to this code to keep the information required by subdivision (a) shall afford current and former employees the right to inspect or copy records pertaining to their employment, upon reasonable request to the employer. The employer may take reasonable steps to ensure the identity of a current or former employee. If the employer provides copies of the records, the actual cost of reproduction may be charged to the current or former employee.
(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.
(d) This section does not apply to any employer of any person employed by the owner or occupant of a residential dwelling whose duties are incidental to the ownership, maintenance, or use of the dwelling, including the care and supervision of children, or whose duties are personal and not in the course of the trade, business, profession, or occupation of the owner or occupant.
(e) (1) An employee suffering injury as a result of a knowing and intentional failure by an employer to comply with subdivision (a) is entitled to recover the greater of all actual damages or fifty dollars ($50) for the initial pay period in which a violation occurs and one hundred dollars ($100) per employee for each violation in a subsequent pay period, not to exceed an aggregate penalty of four thousand dollars ($4,000), and is entitled to an award of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
(2) (A) An employee is deemed to suffer injury for purposes of this subdivision if the employer fails to provide a wage statement.
(B) An employee is deemed to suffer injury for purposes of this subdivision if the employer fails to provide accurate and complete information as required by any one or more of items (1) to (9), inclusive, of subdivision (a) and the employee cannot promptly and easily determine from the wage statement alone one or more of the following:
(i) The amount of the gross wages or net wages paid to the employee during the pay period or any of the other information required to be provided on the itemized wage statement pursuant to items (2) to (4), inclusive, (6), and (9) of subdivision (a).
(ii) Which deductions the employer made from gross wages to determine the net wages paid to the employee during the pay period. Nothing in this subdivision alters the ability of the employer to aggregate deductions consistent with the requirements of item (4) of subdivision (a).
(iii) The name and address of the employer and, if the employer is a farm labor contractor, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1682, the name and address of the legal entity that secured the services of the employer during the pay period.
(iv) The name of the employee and only the last four digits of his or her social security number or an employee identification number other than a social security number.
(C) For purposes of this paragraph, “promptly and easily determine” means a reasonable person would be able to readily ascertain the information without reference to other documents or information.
(3) For purposes of this subdivision, a “knowing and intentional failure” does not include an isolated and unintentional payroll error due to a clerical or inadvertent mistake. In reviewing for compliance with this section, the factfinder may consider as a relevant factor whether the employer, prior to an alleged violation, has adopted and is in compliance with a set of policies, procedures, and practices that fully comply with this section.
(f) A failure by an employer to permit a current or former employee to inspect or copy records within the time set forth in subdivision (c) entitles the current or former employee or the Labor Commissioner to recover a seven-hundred-fifty-dollar ($750) penalty from the employer.
(g) The listing by an employer of the name and address of the legal entity that secured the services of the employer in the itemized statement required by subdivision (a) shall not create any liability on the part of that legal entity.
(h) An employee may also bring an action for injunctive relief to ensure compliance with this section, and is entitled to an award of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
(i) This section does not apply to the state, to any city, county, city and county, district, or to any other governmental entity, except that if the state or a city, county, city and county, district, or other governmental entity furnishes its employees with a check, draft, or voucher paying the employee’s wages, the state or a city, county, city and county, district, or other governmental entity shall use no more than the last four digits of the employee’s social security number or shall use an employee identification number other than the social security number on the itemized statement provided with the check, draft, or voucher.

SEC. 1.5.

 Section 226 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

226.
 (a) Every employer shall, semimonthly or at the time of each payment of wages, furnish each of his or her employees, either as a detachable part of the check, draft, or voucher paying the employee’s wages, or separately when wages are paid by personal check or cash, an accurate itemized statement in writing showing (1) gross wages earned, (2) total hours worked by the employee, except for any employee whose compensation is solely based on a salary and who is exempt from payment of overtime under subdivision (a) of Section 515 or any applicable order of the Industrial Welfare Commission, (3) the number of piece-rate units earned and any applicable piece rate if the employee is paid on a piece-rate basis, (4) all deductions, provided that all deductions made on written orders of the employee may be aggregated and shown as one item, (5) net wages earned, (6) the inclusive dates of the period for which the employee is paid, (7) the name of the employee and the last four digits of his or her social security number or an employee identification number other than a social security number, (8) the name and address of the legal entity that is the employer and, if the employer is a farm labor contractor, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1682, the name and address of the legal entity that secured the services of the employer, and (9) all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee and, beginning July 1, 2013, if the employer is a temporary services employer as defined in Section 201.3, the rate of pay for each temporary services assignment and the total hours worked for each legal entity. The deductions made from payment of wages shall be recorded in ink or other indelible form, properly dated, showing the month, day, and year, and a copy of the statement and the record of the deductions shall be kept on file by the employer for at least three years at the place of employment or at a central location within the State of California. For purposes of this subdivision, “copy” includes a duplicate of the itemized statement provided to an employee or a computer-generated record that accurately shows all of the information required by this subdivision.
(b) An employer that is required by this code or any regulation adopted pursuant to this code to keep the information required by subdivision (a) shall afford current and former employees the right to inspect or copy records pertaining to their employment, upon reasonable request to the employer. The employer may take reasonable steps to ensure the identity of a current or former employee. If the employer provides copies of the records, the actual cost of reproduction may be charged to the current or former employee.
(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.
(d) This section does not apply to any employer of any person employed by the owner or occupant of a residential dwelling whose duties are incidental to the ownership, maintenance, or use of the dwelling, including the care and supervision of children, or whose duties are personal and not in the course of the trade, business, profession, or occupation of the owner or occupant.
(e) An employee suffering injury as a result of a knowing and intentional failure by an employer to comply with subdivision (a) is entitled to recover the greater of all actual damages or fifty dollars ($50) for the initial pay period in which a violation occurs and one hundred dollars ($100) per employee for each violation in a subsequent pay period, not exceeding an aggregate penalty of four thousand dollars ($4,000), and is entitled to an award of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
(f) A failure by an employer to permit a current or former employee to inspect or copy records within the time set forth in subdivision (c) entitles the current or former employee or the Labor Commissioner to recover a seven-hundred-fifty-dollar ($750) penalty from the employer.
(g) The listing by an employer of the name and address of the legal entity that secured the services of the employer in the itemized statement required by subdivision (a) shall not create any liability on the part of that legal entity.
(h) An employee may also bring an action for injunctive relief to ensure compliance with this section, and is entitled to an award of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
(i) This section does not apply to the state, to any city, county, city and county, district, or to any other governmental entity, except that if the state or a city, county, city and county, district, or other governmental entity furnishes its employees with a check, draft, or voucher paying the employee’s wages, the state or a city, county, city and county, district, or other governmental entity shall use no more than the last four digits of the employee’s social security number or shall use an employee identification number other than the social security number on the itemized statement provided with the check, draft, or voucher.

SEC. 1.7.

 Section 226 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

226.
 (a) Every employer shall, semimonthly or at the time of each payment of wages, furnish each of his or her employees, either as a detachable part of the check, draft, or voucher paying the employee’s wages, or separately when wages are paid by personal check or cash, an accurate itemized statement in writing showing (1) gross wages earned, (2) total hours worked by the employee, except for any employee whose compensation is solely based on a salary and who is exempt from payment of overtime under subdivision (a) of Section 515 or any applicable order of the Industrial Welfare Commission, (3) the number of piece-rate units earned and any applicable piece rate if the employee is paid on a piece-rate basis, (4) all deductions, provided that all deductions made on written orders of the employee may be aggregated and shown as one item, (5) net wages earned, (6) the inclusive dates of the period for which the employee is paid, (7) the name of the employee and the last four digits of his or her social security number or an employee identification number other than a social security number, (8) the name and address of the legal entity that is the employer and, if the employer is a farm labor contractor, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1682, the name and address of the legal entity that secured the services of the employer, and (9) all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee and, beginning July 1, 2013, if the employer is a temporary services employer as defined in Section 201.3, the rate of pay for each temporary services assignment and the total hours worked for each legal entity. The deductions made from payment of wages shall be recorded in ink or other indelible form, properly dated, showing the month, day, and year, and a copy of the statement and the record of the deductions shall be kept on file by the employer for at least three years at the place of employment or at a central location within the State of California. For purposes of this subdivision, “copy” includes a duplicate of the itemized statement provided to an employee or a computer-generated record that accurately shows all of the information required by this subdivision.
(b) An employer that is required by this code or any regulation adopted pursuant to this code to keep the information required by subdivision (a) shall afford current and former employees the right to inspect or copy records pertaining to their employment, upon reasonable request to the employer. The employer may take reasonable steps to ensure the identity of a current or former employee. If the employer provides copies of the records, the actual cost of reproduction may be charged to the current or former employee.
(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.
(d) This section does not apply to any employer of any person employed by the owner or occupant of a residential dwelling whose duties are incidental to the ownership, maintenance, or use of the dwelling, including the care and supervision of children, or whose duties are personal and not in the course of the trade, business, profession, or occupation of the owner or occupant.
(e) (1) An employee suffering injury as a result of a knowing and intentional failure by an employer to comply with subdivision (a) is entitled to recover the greater of all actual damages or fifty dollars ($50) for the initial pay period in which a violation occurs and one hundred dollars ($100) per employee for each violation in a subsequent pay period, not to exceed an aggregate penalty of four thousand dollars ($4,000), and is entitled to an award of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
(2) (A) An employee is deemed to suffer injury for purposes of this subdivision if the employer fails to provide a wage statement.
(B) An employee is deemed to suffer injury for purposes of this subdivision if the employer fails to provide accurate and complete information as required by any one or more of items (1) to (9), inclusive, of subdivision (a) and the employee cannot promptly and easily determine from the wage statement alone one or more of the following:
(i) The amount of the gross wages or net wages paid to the employee during the pay period or any of the other information required to be provided on the itemized wage statement pursuant to items (2) to (4), inclusive, (6), and (9) of subdivision (a).
(ii) Which deductions the employer made from gross wages to determine the net wages paid to the employee during the pay period. Nothing in this subdivision alters the ability of the employer to aggregate deductions consistent with the requirements of item (4) of subdivision (a).
(iii) The name and address of the employer and, if the employer is a farm labor contractor, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1682, the name and address of the legal entity that secured the services of the employer during the pay period.
(iv) The name of the employee and only the last four digits of his or her social security number or an employee identification number other than a social security number.
(C) For purposes of this paragraph, “promptly and easily determine” means a reasonable person would be able to readily ascertain the information without reference to other documents or information.
(3) For purposes of this subdivision, a “knowing and intentional failure” does not include an isolated and unintentional payroll error due to a clerical or inadvertent mistake. In reviewing for compliance with this section, the factfinder may consider as a relevant factor whether the employer, prior to an alleged violation, has adopted and is in compliance with a set of policies, procedures, and practices that fully comply with this section.
(f) A failure by an employer to permit a current or former employee to inspect or copy records within the time set forth in subdivision (c) entitles the current or former employee or the Labor Commissioner to recover a seven-hundred-fifty-dollar ($750) penalty from the employer.
(g) The listing by an employer of the name and address of the legal entity that secured the services of the employer in the itemized statement required by subdivision (a) shall not create any liability on the part of that legal entity.
(h) An employee may also bring an action for injunctive relief to ensure compliance with this section, and is entitled to an award of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
(i) This section does not apply to the state, to any city, county, city and county, district, or to any other governmental entity, except that if the state or a city, county, city and county, district, or other governmental entity furnishes its employees with a check, draft, or voucher paying the employee’s wages, the state or a city, county, city and county, district, or other governmental entity shall use no more than the last four digits of the employee’s social security number or shall use an employee identification number other than the social security number on the itemized statement provided with the check, draft, or voucher.

SEC. 2.

 Section 1198.5 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

1198.5.
 (a) Every current and former employee, or his or her representative, has the right to inspect and receive a copy of the personnel records that the employer maintains relating to the employee’s performance or to any grievance concerning the employee.
(b) (1) The employer shall make the contents of those personnel records available for inspection to the current or former employee, or his or her representative, at reasonable intervals and at reasonable times, but not later than 30 calendar days from the date the employer receives a written request, unless the current or former employee, or his or her representative, and the employer agree in writing to a date beyond 30 calendar days to inspect the records, and the agreed-upon date does not exceed 35 calendar days from the employer’s receipt of the written request. Upon a written request from a current or former employee, or his or her representative, the employer shall also provide a copy of the personnel records, at a charge not to exceed the actual cost of reproduction, not later than 30 calendar days from the date the employer receives the request, unless the current or former employee, or his or her representative, and the employer agree in writing to a date beyond 30 calendar days to produce a copy of the records, as long as the agreed-upon date does not exceed 35 calendar days from the employer’s receipt of the written request. Except as provided in paragraph (2) of subdivision (c), the employer is not required to make those personnel records or a copy thereof available at a time when the employee is actually required to render service to the employer, if the requester is the employee.
(2) (A) For purposes of this section, a request to inspect or receive a copy of personnel records shall be made in either of the following ways:
(i) Written and submitted by the current or former employee or his or her representative.
(ii) Written and submitted by the current or former employee or his or her representative by completing an employer-provided form.
(B) An employer-provided form shall be made available to the employee or his or her representative upon verbal request to the employee’s supervisor or, if known to the employee or his or her representative at the time of the request, to the individual the employer designates under this section to receive a verbal request for the form.
(c) The employer shall do all of the following:
(1) With regard to all employees, maintain a copy of each employee’s personnel records for a period of not less than three years after termination of employment.
(2) With regard to current employees, make a current employee’s personnel records available for inspection, and, if requested by the employee or his or her representative, provide a copy thereof, at the place where the employee reports to work, or at another location agreeable to the employer and the requester. If the employee is required to inspect or receive a copy at a location other than the place where he or she reports to work, no loss of compensation to the employee is permitted.
(3) (A) With regard to former employees, make a former employee’s personnel records available for inspection, and, if requested by the employee or his or her representative, provide a copy thereof, at the location where the employer stores the records, unless the parties mutually agree in writing to a different location. A former employee may receive a copy by mail if he or she reimburses the employer for actual postal expenses.
(B) (i) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), if a former employee seeking to inspect his or her personnel records was terminated for a violation of law, or an employment-related policy, involving harassment or workplace violence, the employer may comply with the request by doing one of the following:
(I) Making the personnel records available to the former employee for inspection at a location other than the workplace that is within a reasonable driving distance of the former employee’s residence.
(II) Providing a copy of the personnel records by mail.
(ii) Nothing in this subparagraph shall limit a former employee’s right to receive a copy of his or her personnel records.
(d) An employer is required to comply with only one request per year by a former employee to inspect or receive a copy of his or her personnel records.
(e) The employer may take reasonable steps to verify the identity of a current or former employee or his or her authorized representative. For purposes of this section, “representative” means a person authorized in writing by the employee to inspect, or receive a copy of, his or her personnel records.
(f) The employer may designate the person to whom a request is made.
(g) Prior to making records specified in subdivision (a) available for inspection or providing a copy of those records, the employer may redact the name of any nonsupervisory employee contained therein.
(h) The requirements of this section do not apply to:
(1) Records relating to the investigation of a possible criminal offense.
(2) Letters of reference.
(3) Ratings, reports, or records that were:
(A) Obtained prior to the employee’s employment.
(B) Prepared by identifiable examination committee members.
(C) Obtained in connection with a promotional examination.
(4) Employees who are subject to the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights (Chapter 9.7 (commencing with Section 3300) of Division 4 of Title 1 of the Government Code).
(5) Employees of agencies subject to the Information Practices Act of 1977 (Title 1.8 (commencing with Section 1798) of Part 4 of Division 3 of the Civil Code).
(i) If a public agency has established an independent employee relations board or commission, an employee shall first seek relief regarding any matter or dispute relating to this section from that board or commission before pursuing any available judicial remedy.
(j) In enacting this section, it is the intent of the Legislature to establish minimum standards for the inspection and the receipt of a copy of personnel records by employees. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the establishment of additional rules for the inspection and the receipt of a copy of personnel records that are established as the result of agreements between an employer and a recognized employee organization.
(k) If an employer fails to permit a current or former employee, or his or her representative, to inspect or copy personnel records within the times specified in this section, or times agreed to by mutual agreement as provided in this section, the current or former employee or the Labor Commissioner may recover a penalty of seven hundred fifty dollars ($750) from the employer.
(l) A current or former employee may also bring an action for injunctive relief to obtain compliance with this section, and may recover costs and reasonable attorney’s fees in such an action.
(m) Notwithstanding Section 1199, a violation of this section is an infraction. Impossibility of performance, not caused by or resulting from a violation of law, may be asserted as an affirmative defense by an employer in any action alleging a violation of this section.
(n) If an employee or former employee files a lawsuit that relates to a personnel matter against his or her employer or former employer, the right of the employee, former employee, or his or her representative to inspect or copy personnel records under this section ceases during the pendency of the lawsuit in the court with original jurisdiction.
(o) For purposes of this section, a lawsuit “relates to a personnel matter” if a current or former employee’s personnel records are relevant to the lawsuit.
(p) An employer is not required to comply with more than 50 requests under this section to inspect and receive a copy of personnel records filed by a representative or representatives of employees in one calendar month.
(q) This section does not apply to an employee covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement if the agreement expressly provides for all of the following:
(1) The wages, hours of work, and working conditions of employees.
(2) A procedure for the inspection and copying of personnel records.
(3) Premium wage rates for all overtime hours worked.
(4) A regular rate of pay of not less than 30 percent more than the state minimum wage rate.

SEC. 3.

  No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

SEC. 4.

 (a) Section 1.3 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 226 of the Labor Code proposed by both this bill and SB 1255. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2013, (2) each bill amends Section 226 of the Labor Code, (3) AB 1744 is not enacted or as enacted does not amend that section, and (4) this bill is enacted after SB 1255, in which case Sections 1, 1.5 and 1.7 of this bill shall not become operative.
(b) Section 1.5 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 226 of the Labor Code proposed by both this bill and AB 1744. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2013, (2) each bill amends Section 226 of the Labor Code, (3) SB 1255 is not enacted or as enacted does not amend that section, and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 1744 in which case Sections 1, 1.3 and 1.7 of this bill shall not become operative.
(c) Section 1.7 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 226 of the Labor Code proposed by this bill, AB 1744, and SB 1255. It shall only become operative if (1) all three bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2013, (2) all three bills amend Section 226 of the Labor Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after AB 1744 and SB 1255, in which case Sections 1, 1.3 and 1.5 of this bill shall not become operative.