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Personnel Files

What are the rules on access to personnel files for employees outside Texas?

Q. If a Texas-based company has divisions in several other states, does the Texas law allowing employers to deny employees a look at their personnel files still apply?

Self-Audit: Recording Employee Performance

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Insist employees follow to the letter Michigan Employee Right to Know Act terms


Michigan employees are entitled to look at their personnel files, and the Michigan Employee Right to Know Act sets out the procedure and penalties for employers that don’t allow access. Employees can sue for attorneys’ fees if their employers refuse access, provided they follow the rules. As the following case shows, courts take that requirement literally …

Correcting I-9 mistakes four years after the fact


Q. We recently discovered a stack of I-9s dating back to 2002. The forms were signed by the employees and include copies of the employees’ driver’s licenses and Social Security cards. Unfortunately, a company official never signed the I-9s. Can we sign the forms and backdate them to 2002? If not, what should we do? …

Track mailing, receipt of any benefits-Change notification


Employers that change benefits plans beware! Employees are entitled to know when their benefits will change under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). It’s best to make sure everyone knows about the changes before they go into effect—especially if the new plan requires the employee to do something to qualify for a benefit …

DOT squeaks by drug-Test leak


Peter Giaccio Jr., a boilermaker for New York City’s Department of Transportation (DOT), sued the department for leaking the results of a random drug test that revealed marijuana use. Giaccio, being in a “safety-sensitive” position, was subject to random testing, which he failed twice …

Must we provide access to an employee’s personnel file?


Q. Recently, an employee was involved in a nonwork-related car accident. The employee’s attorney sent the company an authorization letter demanding that we provide the employee’s personnel file in 20 days. It seems the attorney needs the information for a potential lawsuit (unrelated to the company) concerning the accident. Do we have to turn over the personnel file? …

Warn managers: When attitude’s the problem, document


Every now and then, you hire a dud. Someone who looks like he has the skills you need comes with an attitude, too. And the employees he’s supposed to inspire and lead wind up rebelling. You know it’s time to cut him. Before you do, start documenting the problems. Be specific. Nebulous complaints about “bad attitude” and “poor ability to get along with subordinates” can look like empty excuses to discriminate …

Good and accurate records key to winning lawsuits early


The sooner you resolve lawsuits, the better. That’s why it’s important to anticipate problems and plan for them. Take, for example, employee records. If you can easily produce statistical information on the race, sex, age or other protected characteristics of your employees, you often can persuade an attorney fishing for a lawsuit that the waters are empty.

Illinois bucks feds on electronic employee verification


The Illinois legislature sent a shot across the bow of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in August. It passed a law that forbids state employers from using the feds’ electronic E-Verify system to confirm employees’ eligibility to work unless the government can prove the system provides accurate and timely employee information 99% of the time …