Sunday, April 18, 2010


By David McCarthy

Current employees and some former employees are entitled to see their personnel file and to make a copy of it by authority of the Personnel Records Review Act, 820 ILCS 40/0.01 et seq. The question is often put by someone who has just been fired, and the right of access survives for one year following termination of the employment relationship.)

In general the employer must produce the file within seven working days of receiving a request therefor, and may not charge more for copies than the actual cost of the copies. Small employers (fewer than five employees) are not bound by the statute, and the statute does not require an employer of any size to maintain personnel records.

There is a right to correct the record.

It hardly needs saying that when the employer and the employee concur that the record is erroneous, it can be corrected by removal of the offending material, or otherwise, as they mutually agree.

What if they disagree?

In that instance, the employee is entitled to submit a written statement of his or her position, which must be attached to that part of the record it takes issue with, and any time the disputed portion is produced to a third party, the employee's position paper must be produced as well.

Records pertaining to disciplinary action may not as a rule be produced to third parties unless the employee has been notified. The employer must examine the file before producing it to third parties and must in most instances delete information about disciplinary matters that are more than four years old.

Do you get to see everything?


Letters of reference are not subject to production. The same is true for personal information about someone other than the employee in question and for records pertinent to a criminal investigation.