Q. In New York, does a terminated employee have the right to see his personnel file or other documents?
A. Many states have statutes that allow employees or former employees to view their personnel files. In New York, however, terminated or active employees have no right to see or copy their personnel files.
The employer creates and maintains personnel files on its employees. While the file is about the employee, it belongs to the employer. In New York, any right of access would depend on whether the employer has allowed access.
An appropriate policy allows access to review the policy at convenient times in the presence of an employer representative. It should prohibit removing and copying materials. It shouldn’t allow access by former employees. You do not need to honor any attempt by an employee or former employee to authorize release to a lawyer or third party.
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