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(General information about personnel files: Federal law does not specifically require employers to maintain "personnel files", and it does not regulate the question of whether and to what extent employers must allow employees to view, copy, or add documents to their personnel files. However, many of the kinds of documentation needed to defend against discrimination claims and lawsuits, and other types of employment actions, are normally kept in personnel files. Some states have laws requiring employers to give certain degrees of access to their files. Other states (such as Texas) leave that up to an employer and employee to work out between themselves. If you are in doubt about the prevailing legal requirements, be sure to consult an attorney. For more details about personnel files, see the topics "Personnel Files - General" and "Personnel Files - Details" in the Pay and Policies section of Especially for Texas Employers. Although everything in the sample policy that follows is optional, except for the employer's duty to safeguard the confidentiality of the information in the files, the sections that most companies do not allow are designated with "[Optional for employers:]".)
The Company keeps certain records relating to your employment in a personnel file. The documents contained within that file are the property of the Company and must be maintained for government and Company recordkeeping purposes. Some employment records are kept in separate files, such as records relating to medical conditions and leave, records relating to investigations, and records relating to I-9 requirements. All files connected with an employee are considered strictly confidential, and access will be limited only to those who have a job-related need to know the information and who have been authorized to see the file in question.
If an employee wishes to view the contents of his or her personnel file, the employee should report during off-duty time or, with permission from his or her immediate supervisor, during work time to the Human Resources office and file a written request with the records clerk [or other designated individual]. The clerk will verify your identity and show you to a table where you can view the contents of the file. [Optional for employers:] If you would like to get a copy of a company record relating to your employment, you should let the clerk know which document(s) need to be copied. Copies are ten cents apiece, payable in advance.
You may not take or alter any document found within your personnel file. If you disagree with one of the documents, you may ask the Human Resources Manager for permission to add a document containing your comments regarding the document with which you disagree.
[Optional for employers:] Both at and following the time you separate from employment, you may make copies of documents in your personnel file if you wish. Copying of such documents should be arranged with the Human Resources office and will cost ten cents per copy, payable in advance. Your personnel file will be maintained in company archives in accordance with all applicable legal requirements.
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