What rights do employees have to their records?

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2022 | Employment Law |

Employees often question how they are being evaluated and treated at work. Michigan law governs worker access to their personnel records.

Law

The Bullard-Plawecki Right to Know Act is another protection provided by the state’s employment law. Employees have the legal right to review their personnel records, make photocopies of these records and file written statements objecting to or explaining any documents contained in their personnel file.

Important requirements

Employers must provide current and former employees access to their personnel files if they make a written request. Under this law, a personnel record available for employee review is a record maintained and used by an employer for determining an employee’s qualifications for employment, promotion, transfer, higher compensation, or discipline.

Employees do not have access rights to worker references from third parties, their medical records if these are available from the provider or medical facility, information involving a third party that may be an unwarranted privacy invasion of another person, criminal investigation of the employee if the records are kept separately, certain educational records and documents involving employer staffing plans, among other things. Records held by an executive, administrative or professional employee kept in the possession of their maker and inaccessible to other individuals are also exempt.

Objections

If an employee objects to the contents of these records, they may agree with their employer to have the records corrected or removed. If there is no agreement, the employee may submit a statement that cannot exceed five sheets.  If the employer or employee knowingly place false information into the file, legal action may be taken to remove it.

Location

Employers may not circumvent this law by keeping documents outside an employee’s personnel file. If the document meets this law’s definition of a personnel record, employers must provide access regardless of its physical location.

Workers may seek legal assistance to pursue these and other rights, such as the employer’s use of information, under this law. Attorneys can help them in these proceedings.