Can DE employees access their personnel files upon request?

personnel.pngIn keeping with The Employer Handbook tradition (and so as not to reverse any good black and gold mojo), once again, I will follow a Bruins OT playoff win… 

(cue the music…)

…with a look at an employee’s right to review his/her personnel file. Last week, we explored whether Pennsylvania businesses must cede to an employee request to review his/her personnel file.

After the jump, same question, different state: Delaware.

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Personnel file requests in Delaware are governed under the “Right to Inspect Personnel Files Act.” Under this law, a Delaware employer must allow any person currently employed, laid off with reemployment rights or on leave of absence may request to inspect that employee’s own personnel file, at a reasonable time.

What is a personnel file?

“Personnel file” means, if maintained by the employer, any application for employment, wage or salary information, notices of commendations, warning or discipline, authorization for a deduction or withholding of pay, fringe benefit information, leave records, employment history with the employer, including salary information, job title, dates of changes, retirement record, attendance records, performance evaluations and medical records. The term “personnel file” does not include records of an employee relating to the investigation of a possible criminal offense, letters of reference, documents which are being developed or prepared for use in civil, criminal or grievance procedures or materials which are used by the employer to plan for future operations or information available to the employee under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

When can employees inspect their personnel files?

The employer must make personnel files available during the regular business hours of the
office where these records are usually and ordinarily maintained, when sufficient time is available during the course of a regular business day to inspect the personnel files in question. However, the employer may require the requesting employee to inspect such records on the free time of the employee. Although the employee may take notes, the employee does not have the right to photocopy the personnel file.

At the employer’s discretion, the employee may be required to file a written form to request access to the personnel file. This form is solely for the purpose of identifying the requesting individual to avoid disclosure to ineligible individuals. To assist the employer in providing the correct records to meet the employee’s need, the employee must indicate in the written request either the purpose for which the inspection is requested or the particular parts of the employee’s personnel record which the employee wishes to inspect.

Can employees change their personnel files?


If upon inspection of the employee’s personnel file an employee disagrees with any of the information contained in such file or records, removal or correction of such information may be agreed upon by such employee and the employee’s employer. If such employee and employer cannot agree upon such removal or correction then such employee may submit a written statement explaining the employee’s position. Such statement must be maintained as part of such employee’s personnel file or medical records and shall accompany any transmittal or disclosure from such file or records made to a third party.