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Employee Personnel Files

I’d like to know if employees are allowed to have access to their personnel files. If so, are there any specific documents they should not see (reference call notes, etc.)?

There is no federal law requiring private employers to provide employees with access to their personnel files. However, some states have adopted legislation regarding employees’ access rights. Thus, it’s important to know applicable state law. Please feel free to re-post the question with the state provided.

Even absent state law, employers may consider establishing a policy and procedure on access to personnel files. Such a policy ensures management and HR staff respond to access requests in the same manner. The policy should include who is granted access to the files, how to request access, frequency of access, reproduction information, and reconciling disagreements regarding information in the file.

Many employers chose to restrict employees’ access to certain information in their files. Such information may include background check results, personal or employment references, information regarding investigations, and information that may violate another individual’s confidentiality such as a complaint.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 at 7:19 pm and is filed under
Human Resources Management.
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