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Personnel Files Alaska

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  • Personnel Files Alaska

    I was just told by one of my location managers that his wife, who works for another company here in our town, was told by their lawyer that they should not keep employee evaluations in the employee's file, they should be in a separate file.

    Supposedly this is so if the employee asks to see their file they will not see this information. This does not make sense to me, as the employee should be aware of any evaluations that are done, otherwise what good are they?

    And how about disciplinary action documents, are they included in with the regular employee file also, or are they to be kept separately? If an employee asks, are we required to show them all of the paperwork we have on them?

    I really don't see the problem as long as documentation is done correctly, so what is best practice concerning employee files?

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this question.

  • #2
    Alaska employers must allow employees to inspect and copy their *personnel files* and *other personnel information* maintained by the employer concerning the employee. Employers may require employees to pay the reasonable cost of copying.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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    • #3
      I have heard from various attorneys and HR practicioners at one time or another that just about every piece of paper you could possibly put in a file should be kept separately, including their W-4. If you kept every piece of paper that someone has told me should be kept separately, separate, you wouldn't have a personnel file; you'd have a whole series of other folders.

      Ignore your employee's wife's attorney (who probably didn't say anything like it's been reported to you - you know how things change when they're reported down the line) and keep the files in the way you believe they should be kept. I agree with you as to best practice.

      One observation, disciplinary actions are one thing and the employee should be able to see them, but there are some states that specifically prohibit the employer from letting the employee see the notes on an investigation, and I agree with that practice as well.
      The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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