We are just going to post a blog on this issue. While the Labor Code and Industrial Wage Orders require an employer to keep wage records for 3 years, employees can sue for "restitution" under the Business and Professions Code for four (4) years - seeking recovery of minimum wage, overtime, etc., so employers should keep wage records (and documents related to wages) for four (4) years.
An employee can file suit and has sixty (60) days to serve the lawsuit, so if you are real paranoid, you should keep the records for 4 years and 60 days.
Pope, Berger & Williams, LLP
Agree with Harvey.
Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery.
While I agree with Mr. Berger with regard to pay records and personnel file documents, the employer has no duty to maintain other emails or other electronic data under the Labor Code. So if you are asking about emails unrelated to pay records or personnel records, and instead are wondering about emails on other issues, the employer has discretion to destroy documents according to its internal policies at any time. One exception to that general rule is there can be exposure for a company to destroy records once it has become aware of a claim against it and the records being destroyed are related to the dispute.
If you are an employer, it is prudent to act as Mr. Berger has suggested.
Pedersen Heck McQueen, APLC is an employee rights law firm assisting employees in all Southern California counties.
This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.