Q. An employee orally requested that we provide him with a copy of his personnel file. Employee files are voluminous, and we would prefer not to provide a copy if we don’t have to. Are we required to copy the file for our employee? Can we require that the employee copy the file on his own time?
A. Michigan law requires employers to make available to employees and former employees a copy of their personnel file for inspection and copying. Employers may require employees to make their request in writing, and employers may initially require the employee to review the file first and then request copies of documents, unless it would be difficult for the employee to come to the employer’s place of business to inspect the file.
Some employers would rather just copy the file than allow the employee to inspect it on site. But if an employee does inspect it on site, a company representative should be present to avoid the removal or insertion of documents. If the employee requests copies, the employer may charge a reasonable copy fee. Employees do not have to be paid for the time spent inspecting their files. It would not be out of line to require employees to come in after the regular workday to inspect their files.
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