Employee Rights Regarding Personnel Files
Florida is not known for having comprehensive and beneficial labor laws. In fact, Florida laws fail to give many employees certain rights that are bestowed in many other states. Specifically, many employees in Florida do not even have the right to review their own personnel file.
Personnel files can contain a wide array of documents and information that can be extremely helpful if you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated or have been the victim of unlawful discrimination or retaliation. This file can contain documents regarding your hiring (resumes, references, employment contracts), job performance (annual reviews, disciplinary actions), and much more. While these files can be personal and important, especially in a legal action, not everyone in Florida has the right to access these files.
Private sector employees — The law gives you no rights to review your own file. You may still be able to do so if your employer has a policy, however, your employer is allowed to refuse. It can never hurt to ask, though you want to first consider who is most likely to approve access to your file. In some cases, this may be your manager or your human resources manager.
Union employees — Your union contract might provide you the right to access your personnel file. If the contract does not address this subject, you do not have the automatic right to see your file and are in the same position as other private sector employees.
Public employees — Fortunately for public employees, the Florida Public Records Act gives you the right to view your file and make copies of any of the contents in your file. If your supervisor or department refuses to let you see your file, you have the right to file legal action against them.
If you do not have the right to access your file and your employer refuses to give it to you, an experienced employment attorney can help to seek access for you, especially if legal action is pending.
What Should Not Be In Your Personnel File
In addition to accessing your file, you may be concerned with the nature of the contents in your file. Many people generally have access to these files and including certain documents can be a violation of your privacy rights. The following are some things that should not be included:
- Medical records;
- I-9 and other immigration forms;
- Documents unrelated to your job or performance, including notes indicating your religious beliefs, race, political ideology, marital or familial status, or other personal information.
Discuss Your Situation With A Florida Employment Lawyer Today
Your rights in Florida regarding your personnel file access and your privacy when it comes to personnel files can vary depending on your employer. If you have questions or concerns regarding your personnel file, you should not hesitate to consult with an experienced Florida employment lawyer regarding your legal rights and options. Call the law office of Robert S. Norell today at 305-405-9243 for more information.