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In Pennsylvania, employers must allow employees (or their designated agents) to inspect their personnel files upon reasonable request. The law applies only to actual employees, not to ex-employees or applicants who want to look at their application files.

Any person currently employed or who's been laid off with the right to recall or is on a leave of absence may inspect his or her personnel file.

The law defines an employment file as any record maintained by the employer, including:

  • The application.
  • Wage and salary information.
  • Commendations, warnings or discipline.
  • Authorizations for deductions or withholding.
  • Fringe benefit information.
  • Leave records.
  • Employment history with the employer.
  • Job titles.
  • Attendance records and performance evaluations.

You don’t need to let employees see records concerning criminal investigations, letters of reference, documents being prepared for lawsuits or medical records. You also aren’t required to let employees or their agents remove or copy the files, but you must allow them to take notes. Employers may limit the inspections to once yearly for each employee and each agent.

Excerpted from Pennsylvania’s 13 Most Critical Employment Laws, a special bonus report available to subscribers of HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

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