Personnel files for staff employees are maintained by each employee's Home Department. All staff personnel records should be maintained in a secured and confidential location.
The personnel file should contain:
- Job description
- Recruitment documents (application, resume, etc.)
- Personnel Action Notices (PAN's), Personnel Action Forms (PAF's) and other payroll-related documents
- Performance Evaluations (signed originals)
- Time cards for prior year(s)
- Awards, Nominations, other commendation letters
- If applicable, corrective action or disciplinary letters
Access to Personnel Files - Internal Requests
Access to an employee's personnel file should be restricted to those with supervision responsibilities for the specific employee and/or those with job duties that require access.
Employees, upon written request, may review their personnel file or get a copy of the file. The employee must submit a written request to you or the department head, specifying if s/he wants to view the file or have a copy. You should acknowledge the written request and provide access or a copy within a reasonable time frame. Employees are not entitled to immediate access or a copy of the file on demand. You should never give the personnel file to the employee or leave it with him/her alone to review. The personnel file should remain in the possession of the department/University at all times.
If a staff employee is a finalist for a position in another department, the hiring department may review his/her current personnel file as part of a reference check. You should make the personnel file available for review by the hiring department in your offices (or review the file by phone for other UC locations), but you should not provide the file or copies to the prospective hiring department. For information regarding transfering the file to another department or location, see information below under Transfer of Personnel Files.
Different personnel policies and collective bargaining agreements have varying requirements about access to staff personnel files. Please contact Employee & Labor Relations for assistance and guidance if you have questions.
Requests for access or copies of records from former UC employees should be handled the same as all other external requests, see below.
Requests for records of academic personnel (faculty) should be referred to:
- Academic Personnel: 893-8332
Access to Personnel Files - External Requests
An external employer may ask to review an employee’s personnel file as part of a reference check. You may only provide access or copies of the employee's file to another external employer if the review or providing copies of the file is explicitly within the scope of a signed release.
For access requests not related to reference checks, please review the general guidance on responding to requests for information. This guidance applies to access to personnel files by persons outside the department or University, including former UC employees. Requests for public records should be directed to the Coordinator, Public Records Information Office, 893-4169. For more information, review Business & Finance Bulletin, Records Management Program Series, Section 8, Legal Requirements on Privacy of and Access to Information.
Grievance / Complaint Files
A personnel file should not contain formal Grievances or Complaints filed by the employee. Your department should maintain a separate file for grievances/complaints files filed by staff employees. This file is only retained until the grievance/complaint is resolved or closed. If an employee accepts another position on campus, any pending grievance/complaint files should not be transferred to the new home department. Please contact Employee & Labor Relations for guidance on grievance/complaint files and retention.
Medical and/or Worker's Compensation Files
To protect the privacy of the employee, you should exclude any document that relates to an injury or disability from the employee's personnel file. Information such as material relating to a Workers' Compensation claim, a medical slip, and Family and Medical Leave document should be kept in a file separate from the employee's personnel file. In some circumstance, it may be acceptable to keep the medical file in the same file cabinet as the employee's personnel file, as long as unauthorized personnel cannot access the medical files.
All staff personnel records should be maintained in a secured and confidential location in your department. In general, personnel records should be maintained in one centralized area of a department and not dispersed among individual supervisors. Supervisors may maintain ‘working’ files for direct reports, but all final/completed documents should be maintained in the departmental files.
Medical records files and grievance/complaint files should be kept separate from general personnel records to insure that only appropriate personnel have access to these types of records.
Adding or Removing Documents
All documents in an employee’s personnel file are the property of the University. The retention of documents in the personnel file is subject to Business & Finance Bulletins on Record Management and the UC Records Retention Schedule as well as relevant sections of the applicable policy or collective bargaining agreement.
An employee can request to add to or remove documents from his/her personnel file.
In most cases, management has the discretion to approve or deny a request to add a document. If you have questions about an employee’s request to add documents, please contact Employee and Labor Relations.
The decision to remove a document from the personnel file is generally at the discretion of management. In certain limited circumstances, an employee may be entitled to request to remove a document. The request must be made in writing and directed to the supervisor. Note: An employee may request to remove a document for the personnel file, but this does not mean the document is destroyed. Documents removed from an employee’s file are stored in Employee & Labor Relations for the remainder of the applicable record retention period.
Upon receipt of a written request to remove documents from a file, the department head or manager should contact Employee & Labor Relations (ELR) for review of the request. If the removal is appropriate or required by contract/policy, ELR will advise the department on the next steps:
1) Department removes the letter and makes a copy.
2) Department gives the letter to the employee, with a cover memo and the employee’s original written request for removal. The Department does not retain copies of any of these documents in the employee’s personnel file.
3) Department sends ELR a copy of the letter being removed, a copy of the cover letter and a copy of the employee’s written request for removal.
4) ELR retains the documents for the remainder of the applicable record retention period.
Transfer of Personnel Files
When an employee transfers to another campus department, the employee’s personnel file should be hand-delivered to the employee's new home department supervisor. Do not send via campus mail or give to the employee to deliver.
What should be transferred? All original documents, except timecards, in the general personnel file should be transferred to the employee's new department as soon as possible. The prior home department forwards a copy of the employee's last timecard, but all original timecards are retained by the prior home department. (Timekeeping records are financial documents. Please contact Business & Financial Services for information regarding record retention requirements for these documents.)
The prior home department retains the inactive medical, FML and disability files, if any. These files (or copies of the files) should not be shared with or transferred to the new department unless you are advised to do so by the Disability & Rehabilitation Manager.
If an employee transfers to another University campus/medical center, the employee's original personnel file, excluding specific documents referenced above, should be sent certified mail or FedEx delivered to the new location and supervisor. We recommend that you make a complete copy of the file before sending. Once the new location confirms receipt, destroy the file copy.
Please consult the Business & Finance Bulletins on Record Management to determine retention requirements for personnel files, including grievance/complaint files. You may also consult the University's Records Retention Schedule. If you have additional questions regarding record retention, please contact the Campus Policy and Record Management Coordinator at 893-7025.