Q. One of our former employees has requested to see his personnel file. Are we required to allow him access to it?
A. Yes, former employees have the right to inspect their personnel file/records. But, the right only lasts until the statute of limitations on any claims the former employees may have against your company expires.
Employees and former employees are entitled to access to records that are used or have been used to determine the employee’s qualifications for promotion, additional compensation or disciplinary action, including termination. These include the employee’s:
- Application for employment
- Payroll authorization form
- Notices of commendation, warning, discipline and/or termination
- Notices of layoff, leave of absence, and vacation
- Notices of wage attachment or garnishment
- Records involving education and training
- Attendance records.
However, the right to inspect personnel files does not apply to everything in the file. For example, employees do not have a right to see records relating to the investigation of a possible criminal offense or letters of reference.
In addition, employees do not have the right to access ratings, reports or records that were obtained prior to the worker’s employment, that were prepared by identifiable examination committee members, or that were obtained in connection with a promotional examination.