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In this, the second of our series of posts on new laws affecting Labor & Employment law, we review changes to employees’ rights to privacy and access to their personnel files. For assistance on how to adhere to these new laws, please contact one of our labor and employment lawyers.

Employee Social Media Privacy Interests Protected

AB 1844, an addition to the California Labor Code, will prohibit employers from requiring or requesting that employees or applicants disclose their user name or password information for any personal social media, or that they divulge any personal social media. Social media is broadly defined to include any electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations.  A limited exception will allow employers to ask employees to divulge their personal social media for the purpose of an investigation into alleged employee misconduct or violations of law.

Employee Rights To Inspect Personnel Files Clarified

While existing California law already provides employees with the right to inspect their personnel files, the law was previously unsettled on certain specifics of that process.  AB 2674 eliminates some of that confusion by amending the Labor Code to require specifically that employers retain personnel files for at least three years following termination of employment, and to permit current and former employees (or their representatives) to inspect and receive a copy of their personnel records within 30 days of a request to do so.  The new law also specifies that an employer is not required to comply with more than 50 requests for copies of personnel records by a representative or representatives of employee(s) in one calendar month.  In addition, the new law requires that employers develop, and provide upon request, a written form employees may use to request access to, and a copy of, records in their personnel file. Please let our firm know if you would like a courtesy copy of a template request form.

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