The employer of one of my family members owes several thousand dollars in unpaid wages, which is documented in the employer's books. The family is considering legal action and they want to demand copies of the books as evidence (the employer never provided any formal pay stubs). The state (Pennsylvania) does have laws requiring employers to permit inspection and copying of payroll documents. However, there is significant concern that the employer (a rather sleazy independent contractor) may simply destroy or doctor the books to hide what is owed.
So, my question is two-fold: Are there any legal tools to allow an employee to obtain copies of his payroll documents without giving the employer an opportunity to destroy said documents, and what sort of repercussions would an employer face for destroying payroll documentation after a request for copies has been made?