What You Need To Know About Accessing Personnel Files in Illinois
Illinois has laws outlining employees’ access to personnel files. Here’s how to access personnel files in Illinois.
The Personnel Record Review Act outlines Illinois’ rules and regulations surrounding employee access to personnel files. Employers must provide employees with access and copies of their personnel records.
What Is a Personnel File Request in Illinois?
Under Illinois 820 ILCS 40, the Personnel Record Review Act allows employees to access their personnel records.
Personnel records can include documents pertaining to employment, such as:
- Job applications,
- Performance evaluations,
- Letters of recognition,
- Disciplinary actions,
- Training records, and
- Forms related to transfers and promotion.
Employers cannot give employees access to other employees’ personnel files or show them letters of recommendation, testing materials, security records, and additional confidential information or documents.
Illinois does not require employers to create or maintain personnel records. If an employer does not have a personnel record, employees cannot request a review of their record. However, employers must retain documentation for termination or discipline in case of a lawsuit.
Personnel File Requests in Illinois
Under the Personnel Record Review Act, employees can request to review their personnel record twice a year while employed and for up to one year following the termination of their job. This statute only applies to employers with five or more employees.
Employers who maintain records must provide a copy of the information in the form to employees who request a copy. Employers can charge a fee for proving a copy. This cost is limited to making a copy of the record.
Depending on the employer’s policies for requesting records, employees can make a verbal or written request to access their personnel records. Employers must provide the copy within seven days unless they ask for an extension, and the extension is only valid for another seven days.
Reviewing Personnel Files and Records in Illinois
Employers can impose restrictions on when and where employees can review their personnel records. The restrictions can include the review occurring at or near the place of employment and during working hours.
As long as it is convenient for the employee, it is at the employer’s discretion to decide when and where employees can review their records. Employees who cannot view the record at their place of employment may request a copy of their personnel record. Employers can mail employees this copy of the personnel file.
Illinois allows employees to dispute information within their personnel records that they do not believe is correct. Employers should submit a written explanation to their employer outlining the reasons for their disagreement. If an employer and the employee cannot decide on removing or correcting the information, the employer must make a note of the dispute in the personnel file.
What To Do If An Employer Refuses Access To Personnel File
Employees can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor. Employees should ensure they follow all of their employer’s protocols before filing a request with their state’s Department of Labor.
Employees can also contact an attorney if they have any legal questions. Attorneys can help employees navigate the complaint process with the Illinois Department of Labor.