Do My Employees Have Rights to Personnel Files?

In October 2, 2019
On News

Occasionally, employees may request to see their personnel files. They may make such a request for a variety of reasons, such as to ensure that their records are accurate or because they are concerned about their employment status. But do you as an employer have to let your employees see their personnel files? 

There is actually no federal law that requires private employers to give personnel file access to employees. Some states may have specific requirements, however. 

In states like Maine, Connecticut, California, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Michigan, employers are required to give employees access to their files if the request is made in writing by an employee. In other states, such as Illinois, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, employers are left to establish their own policy regarding written requests and whether they are mandated for access.

There are often restrictions on what employees can see, however. In many cases, employees are only allowed to view performance reviews as well as any documentation related to bonuses, promotions, and raises. They may be prohibited from viewing other information, such as references from previous employers or workplace violation documentation.

There are also rules in some states that dictate whether or not employees can make copies of their files. For example, in Pennsylvania, employers do not have to let employees make copies of their personnel files. In Colorado, employees can make copies and employers can charge a fee for supplying copies of the documents to employees.

Some states also set limitations on how many times an employee can inspect his or her own personnel files.

In some cases, the state may give employees the right to rebut the information in their files if they find something they disagree with and are otherwise unable to convince their employer to fix or remove the item in question from their record.

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