PENN STATE - HUMAN RESOURCES

Policy HR60 ACCESS TO PERSONNEL FILES

POLICY'S INITIAL DATE: November 15, 1976
THIS VERSION EFFECTIVE: April 5, 1998

Contents:

  • Purpose
  • Content of File
  • Request for Review
  • Documents not Accessible for Review
  • Review of the File
  • Security of File Material

  • PURPOSE:

    To permit all faculty and staff members (or an agent designated by the faculty or staff member) reasonable access for review of the contents of his or her personnel file (as defined in Act 286 of 1978 as amended by Act 149 of 1990) maintained by the individual's employing unit or by the Office of Human Resources.

    NOTE: For individuals covered by collective bargaining agreements, provisions for access to personnel files maintained in employing units are specified in such agreements for such individuals. The provisions that follow are applicable, however, to all individuals when access is sought to personnel file information maintained by the Office of Human Resources.

    CONTENT OF FILE:

    A personnel file should contain only that information which is relevant to the employee's status and performance as an employee and to the commitment made to and by him/her -- i.e., only that information which the University is required to know for the performance of valid and necessary University functions. No other information should be included without the agreement of the employee concerned, except at his/her own initiative. If unsolicited material pertaining to an employee is included in the subject's file, as relevant, the employee should be informed that it has been so included. The employee shall have the right to append signed personal statements to any material in this file concerning its accuracy, relevancy, or applicability.

    In as much as the organization of personnel files may vary from office to office, every office which has the responsibility for the maintenance of personnel files shall draw up a general statement of the nature and organization of such files kept by that office. Medical records obtained for purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Federal Family Medical Leave Act, or similar legislation, must be maintained as confidential medical records in separate files from the usual personnel files.

    REQUEST FOR REVIEW:

    A faculty or staff member, or agent designated in writing by the faculty or staff member, wishing to review his/her personnel file, or any part of that file, may make such request orally or in writing to his/her Human Resources Representative or campus Director of Business Services, or directly to the custodian of the record(s) sought for review. The Request to Review Personnel File form can be seen at: Request to Review Personnel File.

    DOCUMENTS NOT ACCESSIBLE FOR REVIEW:

    All personnel file documents will be accessible for review by the faculty or staff member and/or the designated agent except for the following:

    A. Letters or memoranda of reference

    B. Documents prohibited from review by HR-23, Promotion and Tenure Procedures and Regulations

    C. Other information and documents required by law to remain confidential

    REVIEW OF THE FILE:

    The review of the file shall be by appointment during the regular business hours of the office where the file is maintained. A representative of that office shall be present with the faculty or staff member and/or the designated agent during his/her review of the file. At the completion of the review, the representative of that office shall record in a log the employee's name, the portions of the file reviewed, and date of the review.

    SECURITY OF FILE MATERIAL:

    A faculty or staff member and/or the designated agent shall be permitted to make notes from the file, but shall not be permitted to remove the file or portions thereof. A copy of the file will be made available to the faculty or staff member and/or the designated agent upon reasonable request.


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