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Personnel Files (Record Retention)

This policy is written to clarify general best practices about the contents of an employee personnel file, allowing employee access to the personnel file, and keeping other employee information separate from the personnel file. With the evolution of the paper to electronic files, the traditional paper employee personnel file has changed. This policy recognizes that records containing employee information may be kept in electronic or paper form and may be maintained in several different electronic systems and physical locations. All employee personnel files shall be secured in strict conformance with federal and state laws and University Bylaws governing the confidentiality of information. Employment records will be kept according to the Employment Records Retention Schedule for the University of Nebraska.

Employees may view their records in the applicable administrative unit’s Human Resources office at any time during regular working hours upon appropriate advance notice to Human Resources. The employee must present a staff identification card before access to records will be granted.

Contents of individual employee files vary and the records may be maintained in electronic or paper form in several different sources. A typical personnel file may include some or all of the following:

  • Application
  • Letters of offer and acceptance of employment
  • Job descriptions
  • Personnel action forms and personnel data forms
  • Performance evaluations
  • Performance counseling forms, forms showing corrective action
  • Letters of commendation
  • Outside employment authorization form

Reports, letters, and documents which reflect unfavorably on an employee shall not be placed in the personnel file without his or her knowledge. Records of disciplinary action shall be maintained in the personnel file for a specific period, according to the University’s Records Retention Policy.

Information which reflects unfavorably, except information originated by the employee, shall not be placed in an employee’s file subsequent to the discharge, resignation, or retirement of such employee, unless a copy of such information is mailed to the employee, within 30 calendar days, at the last known address of the employee.

The following documents should not be included in the personnel file and instead should be kept in a separate file. Such documents should be accessible by the applicable administrative unit’s Human Resources office:

  • EEO/invitation to self-identify disability or veteran status records
  • Reference checks
  • Background checks
  • Drug test results
  • Employment Eligibility Verification forms (Form I-9)
  • E-Verify forms
  • Medical records (medical questionnaires, doctors notes, leave of absence records, etc.)
  • ADA accommodation related records
  • FMLA-related documents
  • Crisis Leave authorization
  • Garnishments
  • Injury Report & Worker’s compensation claims
  • Requests for employment/payroll verification/loan verification requests
  • Immigration processing paperwork
  • Recruitment file documents:  Interview notes, employment test results, Advertisements, Job Descriptions, Non-Select Rationale

Last updated: Sep 2016