Massachusetts personnel file law
Massachusetts general law chapter 149 section 159c
It is important for employers to keep track of their employees’ activities. Employee misbehavior should always be recorded and filed in the employee’s personnel file. Maintaining these documents may be critical for an employer defending wrongful firing claims.
You have the right to know what is being kept in your personnel file as an employee. Additionally, when making a formal submission, you have the right to a copy of your personnel file. Obtaining your personnel file will be a vital first step in the process if you feel you have grounds to file a lawsuit for prejudice, abuse, or other unfair termination. Good performance reviews from your personnel records, for example, may be extremely useful in rebutting arguments that poor job performance was the reason for your termination.
“Personnel record” — a record held by an employer that identifies an employee and can influence or be used in relation to that employee’s qualification for jobs, promotion, transfer, additional pay, or disciplinary action, to the degree that the record is used or has been used. A personnel record is one that is in the hands of an individual, company, partnership, or other entity that has a contractual arrangement with the employer to hold or supply one.
Requesting hr file
Employees do not have the right to inspect their personnel files under federal law. Only the states mentioned below grant workers the right to access their own personnel files. Employee access to personnel files can also be governed by employer policies. Employees will usually open their personnel files and take notes on the records found inside them.
In the state of Alaska, all workers have the right to inspect and duplicate their employer’s employee personnel records. Employees and retired employees are permitted to access and copy personnel files, and employees are permitted to view documents during normal business hours, subject to appropriate restrictions. If the employer demands copies of the documents, the employee is responsible for paying for them.
Any current employee in the state of California, or his or her representative, has the right to review and obtain a copy of their employer’s personnel records. If the requesting party agrees to a later date, the employer has up to 30 days to deliver the documents after receiving a written request from the employee or an agent of the employee. The state personnel file law applies to all employees. Employees have the ability to inspect their reports at appropriate intervals, as well as any personnel documents pertaining to results or a grievance proceeding. Employees have access to their documents during breaks and off-work hours. If the documents are stored off-site or the employer refuses to make them available at work, the employee must be permitted to access them at the storage location without penalty. Employees have the freedom to make copies of any documents they’ve signed. The employee will be required to pay a reasonable copying fee by the employer.
Another new legislation affecting Massachusetts employers was passed during the formal session of the Massachusetts Legislature in 2009-2010. Governor Deval Patrick signed “An Act Relative to Economic Development Reorganization” into law, which aims to encourage long-term economic growth by creating jobs, assisting small businesses, and enhancing infrastructure, with the goal of making Massachusetts more appealing to businesses looking to relocate or expand. When the Governor signed the bill on August 5, 2010, it went into effect immediately. The recent sales tax holiday was the part of the bill that received the most coverage. However, buried within the text of the bill is an update to the Massachusetts Personnel Records Statute that allows employers to notify employees within ten days of putting details in their personnel files that “is, has been used, or could be used” to adversely impact them. (italics added) Ironically, while the law as a whole was intended to draw companies to Massachusetts, this particular amendment makes the Massachusetts Personnel Records Statute the single most onerous legislation of its kind in the entire world.
Request for employee records
“Employee,” a person who is currently or was previously employed by an employer; provided, however, that individuals who are currently or were previously employed by a private institution of higher education in positions that could lead to tenure, are tenured, or require duties similar to those in tenure-track positions are not considered employees for the purposes of this section.
Any information that is, has been, or may be used to adversely impact an employee’s fitness for jobs, promotion, transfer, additional pay, or the likelihood of disciplinary action must be notified to the employee within 10 days of the employer putting the information in the employee’s personnel record. Within 5 business days of receiving a written request from an employee, the employer must provide the employee with the opportunity to review his or her personnel record. During regular business hours, the analysis will take place at the place of work. An employee shall be given a copy of the employee’s personnel record within 5 business days of submission of a written request for such copy to the employer. An employer is not allowed to allow an employee to review his or her personnel record more than twice in a calendar year; however, the notice and review triggered by the placement of negative information in the personnel record is not counted as one of the two approved annual reviews.