Employers and their powerful lobbyists sought limits on how often employee can access their own employment files, and they got what they asked for – with a bit of good news for employees, too. A new law says that employees may no longer request access to their personnel records more than two times per calendar year. But thankfully, a few alert people realized that such a provision would leave employers free to stuff negative information into a personnel record and the employee with little chance to find it.
Of course, employers may still put negative information in an employee’s personnel record, but now employers must notify an employee within 10 days of placing it there. The law defines negative information as “any information to the extent that the information is, has been or may be used, to negatively effect the employee’s qualification for employment, promotion, transfer, additional compensation or the possibility that the employee will be subject to disciplinary action.”
That means there’s no more need to keep vigilant watch over your personnel file for the purpose of policing negative reports. From now on, employers are required to disclose, and employers who violate the statute may subject themselves to fines ranging from $500 to $2,500. As for the twice a year limit, employees can still request a copy of their personnel record, and employers are still required to provide that copy within five days of the request.
So, what do you do if you find negative information in your file? Well, there’s been no change to every employee’s right to submit a written statement if they disagree with any part of their record.