Q. One of our employees is having disagreements with his supervisor over performance issues. The employee has asked to see his personnel file. Does he have a legal right to see his file?
A. Private-sector employees have no right to see their files or make copies of any documents. If you have a unionized work force, the union may have access to the file in order to fulfill its duty to administer the labor contract (e.g., to see if a grievance should be filed or aid in the presentation of a grievance) or to assist in collective bargaining.
However, in the interest of good, most employers have a policy allowing employees an opportunity to review their personnel files at a reasonable time and place.
You can and should prohibit removing and copying files. In addition, do not allow former employees to browse their files.