Santa Rosa, CA asked in Employment Law for California

Q: Do I need to have an attorney to reply to a request for payroll records and wage statements by an attorney?

An ex-employee has acquired a lawyer from Lawyers for Employee & Consumer Rights. We received a letter requesting payroll records and wage statements for a potential workplace related claim.

They also want us to sign a Tolling agreement which we don't understand the form.

We feel we had a legal right to terminate this employee.

Should we reply with the documents requested without legal representation?

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4 Lawyer Answers
Donald M Barker
Donald M Barker
Answered
  • irvine, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Labor Code § 1198.5 provides that (with limited exception): “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.”

The employer must make the personnel file/performance documents available to the worker or his representative within 30 days from the date it receives a written request. If the employer fails to comply, the employee can recover a $750 penalty from the employer. (Labor Code § 1198.5(k).)

DO NOT SIGN any "Agreement," without the review of a lawyer---NEVER.

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen
Answered
  • Westminster, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It would be very wise for you to immediately get legal representation to assist with this demand and the prospective claim that may be made. Do not agree to any kind of tolling agreement, or any other agreement for that matter, without first seeking legal advice.

Good luck to you.

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
Answered
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The shadow that you are seeing is a wage and hour litigation over whether you improperly denied meal and rest periods, failed to provide accurate statements of earnings, or failed to pay overtime. This firm represents employees and is seeking this information to find factual support for the employee's claims against you. DO NOT SIGN THE TOLLING AGREEMENT, or any other proposed agreement without first obtaining (retaining and paying) your own attorney. Once you respond to this, you can expect a demand letter that has many claims and provides you with legal authorities re: your exposure, and an offer to settle. You need competent legal representation. There are local attorneys who could help you but there are also attorneys outside your area that can also handle this because almost everything is handled through electronic communication. Certainly Mr. Pedersen is a good attorney in this area and posts many responses on Ask a Lawyer.

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Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
Answered
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: After doing some research in my files, I find that I have had dealings with this law firm that represents former employees. I am not posting on this public forum my opinions or experiences. You need to gather together all the documents relating to your former employee, DO NOT WRITE NOTES OR ANYTHING ON THE EVIDENCE!!!. Scan them in preparation for retaining your own attorney and sending these to him. Send your attorney the documents and let him respond to the attorney letter. Responding yourself sends the wrong message, kind of like the lamb entering the lions den.

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