Employee Personnel Files

A Minnesota law requires certain employers to make copies of these files upon request.

Church Law and Tax 1992-07-01 Recent Developments


The Minnesota legislature enacted a law requiring certain employers to make copies of an employee’s personnel files upon request. The law applies to any employer having 20 or more employees. The new law provides that “upon written request by an employee, the employer shall provide the employee with an opportunity to review the employee’s personnel record. An employer is not required to provide an employee with an opportunity to review the employee’s personnel record if the employee has reviewed the personnel record during the previous six months.” The law further provides that “with respect to current employees, the personnel record or an accurate copy must be made available for review by the employee during the employer’s normal hours of operation at the employee’s place of employment or other reasonably nearby location, but need not be made available during the employee’s working hours. The employer may require that the review be made in the presence of the employer or the employer’s designee. After the review and upon the employee’s written request, the employer shall provide a copy of the record to the employee.” The law defines the term personnel record to include “any application for employment; wage or salary history; notices of commendation, warning, discipline, or termination; authorization for a deduction or withholding of pay; fringe benefit information; leave records; and employment history with the employer, including salary and compensation history, job titles, dates of promotions, transfers, and other changes, attendance records, performance evaluations, and retirement record.” The term does not include several items, including “written references respecting the employee, including letters of reference supplied to an employer by another person,” and, in some cases, “information relating to the investigation of a violation of a criminal or civil statute by an employee.” Section 181.961 of the Minnesota Statutes.

See also Clergy—personal liability (new section 709.15 of the Iowa Statutes).

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