Employee Access to Personnel Files

January 7th, 2014 by
Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team answers several questions from members daily. Many of the questions the Team receives concern employee personnel files, such as the one below:

Do employees have a right to review their personnel files?

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution Team Member Renee’ Watkins offers guidance for this employer issue:

For private employers, there is no North Carolina or federal law giving employees the right to see their file (absent a court order). However, from an employee relations perspective, it may be a good idea to grant access. The recommendation is that employers require employees to schedule an appointment, allow access to review their personnel file in the presence of the Human Resources Manager or a designated official, and that they not be allowed to remove items from the file or make photocopies.

It is also recommended that you review the file before the appointment to make sure that it does not contain information that should be kept separately (such as medical information, I-9’s, health insurance enrollment forms, background checks, references, self-identification of disability or veteran status, etc.).

Unlike employees in the private sector, state law provides that certain items in a public employee’s personnel file are a matter of public record and subject to inspection, thus granting access for public employees in North Carolina. Various laws permit access for state, county and city employees, as well as those of public hospitals, water and sewer authorities, community colleges and school districts. The following items in a public employee’s personnel file are a matter of public record and available to persons who request the information: name; age; date of original employment; current position title; current salary; date and amount of most recent increase or decrease in salary; date of most recent promotion, demotion, transfer, suspension, separation, or other change in position classification; and the office to which the employee is currently assigned.

If you have additional questions, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.


One Response to “Employee Access to Personnel Files”

  1. Tim says:

    As an employee am I aloud to see or copy any contracts that I have signed

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