Give copies of personnel docs?

An employee who is being disciplined asked to see her personnel file.  I don't have a good feeling about where this is all heading, but I know I have to let her see what's in the file.  Do I have to give her a copy of everything she asks for?  And is it okay to ask her why she wants to see her file?  Thanks!


  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • This depends on what state you're in. Some states have laws requiring you to let an employee see what's in her personnel file (and/or copy it). If you're in one of these states, you have no choice. But, most of the laws do have exceptions for certain things that may be in the files, such as invetigative or criminal reports, stuff like that.
  • In NC employees have access to their personnel file and the following is acceptable:  The employee must ask in advance and a time is set up and allowed to look at the "personnel file" with a designated H.R. rep. - once the documents are in the personnel file they are property of employer. Some employer choose to make copies, but not required to do so.
  • You definitely need to check your state law on this.   I think pretty much every state has some kind of law on access to personnel files and many of the states address giving copies of things to employees and/or former employees.   If allowing employees access to their files makes you uneasy, maybe you should look at your internal procedures.  I have always maintained that an employee should not be surprised at anything they might find in their file - if things are handled properly, the only documents in that file will be ones the employee knows about and, in many cases, has signed (performance evaluations, written disciplinary notices, etc.)   
  • I agree with the above poster. Nothing in their file should be a surprize. We require the employee have a written request, time set up and they can copy if they want too.
  • In addition to your state law, you should look at what your employee handbook says. I agree with other posters that nothing should be a surprise. I would NOT ask her why she wants to see it. If she has a right to it (by state law or company policy) her reasons are immaterial.
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