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Amendments Expedite CT Employees' Access to Personnel Files

Under the Connecticut Personnel Files Act, CT employees have the right to inspect their personnel files.

Recently, Governor Dan Malloy signed into law significant amendments to this Act.  Senate Bill 910, which goes into effect October 1, 2013, includes the following changes which may impact how your business disciplines, terminates and grants personnel file access to employees.  Here’s a summary of the primary provisions:

  • More comprehensive access for current employees.  The current law gives employees the right to “inspect” their personnel files.  The new law will require employers to, upon request, furnish current employees with actual copies of their files.
  • Expedited timeframe for current employees’ access.  The new law clearly defines a “reasonable time” for responding to personnel file inspection / copying requests.  Employers will now have seven business days to allow current employees to inspect, and if requested, copy their files.
  • Expedited timeframe for former employees’ access.  Upon receipt of written requests, employers will have 10 business days to allow former employees to inspect, and if requested, copy their personnel files.  If the parties cannot agree on a reasonable location for the inspection/copying, employers may comply with this section by mailing files within the 10-day time period.  Former employees have one year from the date of separation to make such requests.
  • Providing disciplinary and termination documents.  Employers will be required to provide employees with copies “of any documentation of any disciplinary action” within one business day of imposing the action.  On its face, this provision applies only to written disciplinary actions and does not require employers to produce or create documentation of disciplinary actions in the first instance.  Similarly, the new law requires employers to “immediately” provide employees with copies of any “documented notice of that employee’s termination.”
  • Including employee discipline and termination statements in personnel files.  SB 910 also requires employers to include a statement “in clear and conspicuous language” in all written disciplinary documents, performance evaluations, and notices of termination that if the employee disagrees with anything contained in these written documents, the employee may “submit a written statement explaining his or her position.”  Any such employee statement must be maintained as part of the employee’s personnel file and be included in any transmittal or disclosure from the file.
  • Penalties.  The Connecticut Department of Labor may establish an appropriate fine of up to $500 for any first violation of the Bill and $1,000 for any subsequent violations.

Familiarize yourself with the provisions of this new law and make sure that applicable staff (including compliance personnel) understand its new requirements.  Review your current discipline, termination and personnel file access practices and policies, and update them to address the impending changes.  Finally, consult your local employment law counsel for additional guidance.  While this overview should help you better understand SB 910’s ramifications for your company, it is not intended as legal advice.

Sources:  http://eplirisk.com/significant-change-to-cts-personnel-files-act/ http://www.jacksonlewis.com/resources.php?NewsID=4533