I have no idea what certificates you are referring to. What do they certify? Who issued them? Whose name are on them? What business does this relate to? Is there an employment contract? If so, what does the contract say? Without knowing this, your question cannot be addressed.
They say you get what you pay for, and this response is free, so take it for what it is worth. This is my opinion based on very limited information. My opinion should not be taken as legal advice. For true advice, we would require a confidential consultation where I would ask you questions and get your complete story. This is a public forum, so remember, nothing here is confidential. Nor am I your attorney. I do not know who you are and you have not hired me to provide any legal service. To do so would require us to meet and sign written retainer agreement. My responses are intended for general information only.
This question lacks detail. If the certificates are your property, your employer must return it to you just like anything else you own at work, e.g., photographs, decorations, and an aluminum water bottle left at your desk when you were terminated. If you are seeking for your employer to issue you some sort of certificates demonstrating your work accomplishments for your employer before your employer terminated you, there is no California law that requires that. Only an employment contract, or maybe an employee handbook or employer policy can do that. Review your employment contract for the answer.
You should not rely on this response as legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship nor any professional responsibility for the outcome of your case. Please hire a lawyer as soon as possible to advise you on your circumstances.
If these certificates are records of training or commendations, they go in the personnel file. So send your employer a demand for your personnel file and offer to reimburse for the cost of production. If they fail to produce your file within 30 days, you can sue for a $750 penalty. If the certificates aren't in the personnel file, they're probably in the circular file.
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