Reference and Requests for Information Policy
March 09, 2008
The Reference and Requests for Information policy states that all inquiries regarding a present or past employee are to be referred to the Human Resources Department. Only factual information concerning an employee will be released. This information may be confined to confirming that the individual was employed with the company, the dates of employment, the position held, and the job description. The only response to a request for wage or salary information that can be made is confirmation of the information that the inquiring individual already has. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the company is obliged to preserve the privacy of an employee. Requests should be in writing on a company letterhead, and HR reserves the right to deny requests. Other criteria for release of information are included, as well as how to handle subpoenas. Additionally, the employee’s signature is required to release certain information.
Subject: Reference and Information Requests
Example of: Standard Policy
Generally, all inquiries regarding a present or past employee are to be referred to the Human Resources Department. Only factual information concerning an employee will be released. This information may be confined to confirming that the individual was employed with the company, the dates of employment, the position held, and the job description. The only response to a request for wage or salary information that can be made is confirmation of the information that the inquiring individual already has. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the company is obliged to preserve the privacy of an employee.
Normally, any caller will be told that a request for information about an employee must be in writing on the company’s letterhead, addressed to the Human Resource Department, and accompanied by a signed consent by the employee to release the information along with a prepaid, addressed envelope. Requests that do not meet these conditions are generally ignored.
Human Resources will respond in a timely manner to all subpoenas for employee records. Before responding, the Human Resources Department will confirm with counsel that the subpoena is proper. Further, the Human Resources Department will notify the individual employee of the existence of the subpoena in order to provide the individual with an opportunity to retain counsel and oppose it. (See attached form.) The company will not provide any legal advice to any employee in this regard.
Responses to requests for information from financial institutions concerning employees will only be made after employees give written permission to respond to specific inquiries. (See attached form.) Further, with regard to any inquiry made carrying the potential for continued employment, the following statement should be made: “While all employees of the company are employees at will, it is not anticipated that the employment status of the above-named individual will be altered.”
If a request for information is from a government agency, it is generally the responsibility of the Human Resources Department to respond. Prior to releasing any information, however, there must be confirmation that the individual requesting it is actually associated with the government agency and has a proper reason for requesting the information. If an employee is under investigation for a criminal act, the employee will not be contacted regarding the request by a government agency. Otherwise, the employee will be asked to consent to the release of information. (See attached form.)
Before releasing any information, the individual in the Human Resources Department who responds to inquiries shall review the individual file. Information will not be provided based on memory.
Even on written request, no additional information will be disclosed unless there exists a subpoena or a written release by the employee to disclose the information in a form satisfactory to the vice president of Human Resources.
Some states require that the company state the reason for discharging an employee on the employee’s request. Refer all such requests to Human Resources. The attached form will generally be used to respond to such requests.
Form to Notify Employee of Subpoena
TO: [name of employee]
On ________, 20__, a subpoena was properly served upon ABC Company for your personnel files. The subpoena was issued by the ___________Court, in connection with the lawsuit, styled and numbered: ____________________________ v. ______________________, No ____ in ________County in the state of ____________. The company is required by this subpoena to provide these records by __________, 20__.
If you desire to resist the exposure of these records, you should immediately contact an attorney to do so. In turn, your attorney should contact ________________________ at ___________________________ during the hours of ______ and ______ prior to the date for compliance with the subpoena. Unless ABC Company receives a proper notice from the above-named court not to comply with the subpoena or receives written notice from the party requesting the records not to comply with the subpoena, it will furnish the records by the above date.
The company will permit you time off without pay to meet with an attorney. It will not reimburse you for any costs associated with resisting the subpoena, including your attorney fees.
Attached is a copy of the subpoena.
If you have any questions, please contact _________________________________________ at _____________________________________, during the hours of __________and __________. Sincerely,
ABC Company by
Form to Notify Employee of Information Request
To: [name of employee]
On __________, 20__, a (circle one) [written request] was received by ABC Company for the following information _____________________________________________.
This request was made by _______________________________________________________.
The company will not release this information without your written permission. To give your written permission, please complete the information below and return to __________________ at __________ by __________, 20__.
If your written permission is not received by this time, the information will not be disclosed.
To: ____________________________________________________________, ABC Company
Please comply with the above request. I hereby release ABC Company, its employees, officers, directors, and shareholders from any and all liability for damages arising out of the furnishing of this information as requested by me.
Employee Signature: _________________________________________________________
Witness Signature: ___________________________________________________________
Printed Name of Employee:_____________________________________________________
Printed Name of Witness: ______________________________________________________
Form for Responding to Employees Request for Reason for Discharge
In accordance with applicable state law, in the event any employee requests in writing the reasons for his or her termination, the ABC Company will respond in writing. The following form will be used:
TO: [name of employee]
FROM: Director of Human Resources
RE: Your Written Request for a Service Letter
In response to your written request dated __________, your employment as ________________ [job classification] with ABC Company was terminated on __________, because of the reason(s) checked below:
__ Closing of facility
__ Customer complaint
__ Destruction of company property
__ Disclosure of confidential information
__ Elimination of position
__ Excessive absences
__ Excessive lateness
__ Exhaustion of leave of absence
__ Failure to follow cash-handling procedures
__ Failure to follow instructions
__ Failure to report to work and failure to call
__ Harassment of other employees
__ Misappropriation of company property
__ Reduction in force
__ Rudeness to customer
__ Violation of discrimination policy
__ Violation of safety policy
__ Violation of written company policy