Q. A former employee has contacted our HR manager demanding a copy of her personnel file. Must we make this available?
A. No. Although many states have laws requiring some access by current and former employees to their personnel files, private employers in North Carolina are not obliged to do so.
To the extent that an employer voluntarily chooses to allow access, it is a good business practice to develop and maintain a written policy describing the extent and circumstances when it is allowed.
Employers should understand, however, that investigating government agencies (such as the U.S. Department of Labor, the EEOC and Immigration Control and Enforcement) have statutory rights to review personnel records in some cases.
Also, employers should always respect and carefully comply with properly issued and served subpoenas.
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