Access to Personnel Files Policy
March 07, 2008
The Access to Personnel Files policy establishes who has legal access to personnel employment, medical, and immigration records, and when that access should be granted. It further addresses the following: additions to records, corrections to records, access by other employees and supervisors, and access by nonemployees. It also covers situations when the Legal Department should be contacted during the course of access requests.
Subject: Access to Personnel Files
Example of: Standard Policy
Statement of Purpose
The Company keeps accurate and updated information deemed pertinent by the Company in every employee personnel file.
Personnel files are generally confidential and are the property of the Company.
• Records to be kept in the personnel file include those relied on to evaluate the employee for hire, promotion, demotion, transfer, termination, or change in compensation. The Company requires the following forms to be filed in each employee personnel file:
A. Employment application, résumé, and cover letter
B. Offer letters or employment agreements
C. The payroll/personnel information (PPI) form completed when an employee is initially hired. All PPIs during employment indicating change in employee’s address, salary, position, department, etc.
D. Consent to payroll deductions
E. Confidentiality statement
F. W-4 and other tax withholding forms
G. Automatic payroll deposit authorization (participants only)
H. Signed employee handbook acknowledgment and at-will disclaimer
I. Benefits enrollment/declination card (all employees)
J. Uniform receipts (all employees issued uniforms)
K. Attendance records
L. All merit reviews
M. All performance reviews and/or disciplinary action
N. Termination record
O. New employee orientation forms
P. Training records
Q. Job posting applications
No other documents are to be placed in personnel files without the approval of the director of Human Resources.
• Personnel file maintenance: All files will be kept and maintained by the Human Resources department. Personnel records will generally be kept in secured files.
• Files on all terminated employees will be kept by the company for a period of seven years following termination.
• Employees will be permitted reasonable access to their own file during business hours as determined by the Human Resources department. All other employees such as supervisors will be granted access to personnel files only on a need-to-know basis. For example, personnel records may be accessed by employees and supervisors only in the course of performing their job functions. Employees are permitted to inspect their own medical records as provided by applicable law.
• Former employees who make a written request will be provided a copy of personnel records upon payment of retrieval and copying costs.
• Generally, nonemployees will be permitted access only as required by law. Normally, a subpoena or a notarized written consent by the employee will be required in order for a nonemployee to gain access to the information. Exceptions, such as providing information to state unemployment agencies, and both federal and state investigators, may be made by the director of Human Resources, after the director has confirmed the identity of the agency and individual. Further, applicable law may require disclosure of employee information to government agencies without notifying the employee the disclosure was made.
• With respect to medical records, even with a subpoena, the director of Human Resources will first consult with legal counsel prior to compliance with the subpoena. At the discretion of the director of Human Resources and if applicable law permits, the employee may be advised of the existence of a subpoena for medical records in order to be given an opportunity to seek to quash that subpoena.
• Separate files will be maintained for medical records, workers’ compensation claims, family or medical leave absences, and immigration records. These files may only be accessed in accordance with applicable law and on a need-to-know basis.
• Employees may make corrections to such information as their home address, telephone number, W-4, and the like at reasonable times. Corrections or additions to absence reports, merit reviews, termination records, etc. must be made with the knowledge of the supervisor. If there is a dispute between the supervisor and the employee concerning any addition or correction, the Human Resources department will resolve the disagreement.