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Personnel Files

Must we turn over personnel records that might compromise an investigation?


Q. A former supervisor is the subject of an ongoing sexual harassment and retaliation investigation. He is asking to view his personnel records. The records contain the details of the retaliation complaint. Does he have the right to review his own personnel file? …

What are the rules concerning third-Party access to employee personnel files?

Q. I have heard that under Illinois law, our company must notify an employee if we receive a request from a third-party to review that employee’s personnel records. Is that true? …

How long must we retain records?

Q. How long should I keep employment-related records, such as wage information and personnel files? …

Confused about recordkeeping? DOL unveils online aid


The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) last month debuted the FirstStep Recordkeeping, Reporting and Notices Advisor, an online tool that helps employers determine which federal laws, record-keeping requirements and poster rules apply to them …

Ensuring the confidentiality of HR info

Q. I’m the HR director of a 45-employee company and have one assistant. Due to the firm’s growth, I’m considering giving my assistant more responsibility. My concern: The assistant is very friendly with about 10 other employees, two of which are her roommates. What’s to stop her from divulging information to her friends? I have said nothing to her about my concerns yet. What can I express to her without overstepping her legal rights? …

Could a court order force us to compromise our employees’ privacy?

Q. I heard that Google is being forced to hand over YouTube access logs to Viacom as evidence in a copyright suit. This seems like a major privacy issue. Our company provides free health information to our employees over the Internet. Our internal web site users have created employee profiles that include personal information such as their names and e-mail addresses. Could we be forced to hand over our user information if we ever became involved in litigation? …

Prepare for possible changes in employment eligibility verification

Stories of immigration raids and heavy fines are as close as the nearest newspaper. But at the street level, North Carolina employers know they may be caught in the crossfire as federal and state governments increase efforts to weed out illegal and undocumented workers. Although federal law primarily governs immigration issues, North Carolina and some other states are considering implementing employment verification requirements of their own …

What are the rules on employee access to personnel records?


Q. Are we required to allow employees to inspect their personnel files? Must these files be retained at each office (rather than at a centralized location)? …

Fired employee wants termination letter, access to personnel files

Q. An employee we recently terminated has asked us to provide him with a letter explaining the reasons for his termination. He also has asked for a copy of his personnel file. Are we required to respond? …

What’s an employer’s responsibility to provide notification of a data security breach?

Q. We maintain employee personnel information in an HR software program. We have discovered that a former employee hacked into the database and copied 100 employees’ first and last names, addresses, Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers. Do we have to notify the employees? Some of them live and work in Ohio …