Under existing law, California employers are required to provide employees with accurate itemized wage statements that contain nine enumerated categories of information identified in Labor Code Section 226. Employees "suffering injury" as a result of an employer's knowing and intentional failure to comply with the itemized statement requirements are entitled to recover penalties for each violation as well as costs and attorneys' fees.

Employers should be vigilant to ensure compliance with itemized wage statement regulations. Under Senate Bill 1255, which amends CA Labor Section 226, an employee will be deemed to suffer injury if the employer (1) fails to provide a wage statement, or (2) fails to provide accurate and complete information as to any of the enumerated categories of information and the employee cannot promptly and easily determine the information from the itemized wage statement alone. Thus, where the employee establishes the foregoing, he/she will be entitled to damages even where the employee did not suffer any actual injury.

The bill also clarifies that a "knowing and intentional failure" does not include an isolated and unintentional payroll error due to a clerical or inadvertent mistake particularly where the employer, prior to the alleged violation, has adopted and is in compliance with policies and procedures that fully comply with Section 226. The changes to the Labor Code go into effect on January 1, 2013.