Are employees entitled to view their files?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Unless your state has a statute (or case law) governing access to personnel files, your employer is not required to let you view your file. It is normally considered to be the employer’s property, even though the file is about you.

In order to avoid running afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers should keep medical records separate from other personnel records. This is to avoid your supervisors’ unnecessarily seeing information about physical or mental problems which have no direct bearing on your ability to perform your job.

If you are a public employee, your state may allow public access to certain information in your file. Many states exempt performance evaluations, disciplinary actions, and medical information from public access.

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