Can PA employees access their personnel files upon request?

ERI 2376 copy (5328084218).jpg

Hey all! As I promised last night on Twitter, I’ve got nothing left in the tank for this blog post after watching my beloved Bruins defeat the hated Habs in overtime of Game 7 last night.

So, I’ll keep this short and sweet.

After the jump, I answer a question that many HR folks in Pennsylvania have asked me? Do we have to give employees access to their personnel files upon request?

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The Personnel File Act of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania allows employees to view their personnel files and take notes (but not make photocopies of anything in the personnel file) one time per year at a mutually convenient time.

An employer shall, at reasonable times, upon request of an employee, permit the employee or an agent designated by the employee to inspect his or her own personnel files used to determine his or her own qualifications for employment, promotion, additional compensation, termination or disciplinary action. The employer shall make these records 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. The employer may require the requesting employee or the agent designated by the employee to inspect such records on the free time of the employee or agent…

Additionally, the employer may require that employees request access in writing and specify what parts of the personnel file they wish to review and why they want to look at them.

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

The “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, medical records 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. And the employee may not remove the personnel file from the employer’s premises.

And now, a little something to get my Pennsylvania readers fired up:

Image Credit: “ERI 2376 copy (5328084218)” by Sarah ConnorsERI_2376 copy
Uploaded by Dolovis. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
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