Does your employee handbook have a personnel file policy? Nineteen states have laws requiring employers to allow employees to access and copy their personnel files, and in most of these states, the right to view and copy the files extends to former employees. In some states, “personnel file” is defined by statute, and lists the items that should be contained in the file and accessible to the employee. Most states have laws limiting employees’ access to certain documents and records. Even in states without personnel file access laws, employees may still have rights to other records, such as payroll records. When a former employee demands a copy of their personnel file, how will you know what you can-and must-do next? How to include and exclude the proper documents is buried in statute, and failure to provide required access can result in fines and lawsuits. Contact the expert employment law attorneys at myHRcounsel for help drafting a personnel file policy that complies with the law in your state, and handling requests for personnel file access from both current and former employees.
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