Fired employee wants termination letter, access to personnel files

Q. An employee we recently terminated has asked us to provide him with a letter explaining the reasons for his termination. He also has asked for a copy of his personnel file. Are we required to respond?

A. Yes. If the employee makes his request within 15 working days of being terminated, you must provide a written statement of the truthful reasons for the termination. Your response is due within 10 working days of receiving the request. Former employees are entitled to obtain copies of their personnel records within seven working days of your receipt of a request (15 days if the records are located out of state).

The fact that a former employee has made such requests could be a sign that he is contemplating legal action. It may be wise to coordinate your response to these requests with your organization’s legal counsel.