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Must we turn over personnel records that might compromise an investigation?

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources,Office Management,Records Retention

Q. A former supervisor is the subject of an ongoing sexual harassment and retaliation investigation. He is asking to view his personnel records. The records contain the details of the retaliation complaint. Does he have the right to review his own personnel file?

A. The Illinois Personnel Record Review Act (IPRRA) specifies the circumstances under which employees may view their personnel files. While the scope of the IPRRA is quite broad, Section 10 does not permit that employee to review “records relevant to any other pending claim between the employer and employee which may be discovered in a judicial proceeding.”

Moreover, the IPRRA protects disclosure of “investigatory or security records maintained by an employer to investigate criminal conduct by an employee or other activity by the employee which could reasonably be expected to harm the employer’s property, operations or business, or could by the employee’s activity caused the employer financial liability, unless and until the employer takes adverse personnel action based on information in such records.”

Accordingly, if the employer disciplines or terminates the employee, that employee will have a right to review the contents of the personnel file. However, prior to that time, the employee does not have that particular right.

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