Do I have the right to obtain a copy of my employee file from a previous employer to determine what information the file contains?

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Do I have the right to obtain a copy of my employee file from a previous employer to determine what information the file contains?

I was denied a new job due to feedback from my previous employer. I feel the information the previous employer provided was embellished to discourage the new employer from hiring me. Do I have the right to obtain a copy of my employee file from this previous employer to determine what information the file contains? Do I have the right to obtain the previous employer’s policy on employment verification?

Asked on January 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you worked in the public sector, you have rights to access your personnel records without much trouble. However, if you worked in the private sector, accessing your personnel records can be difficult because, under IN law, private companies are not required to release their personnel records.

See what, if anything, the employee manual says about obtaining personnel records.  If it is silent on the subject, then try asking your former employer outright as to whether or not they will let you view it.  Finally, try having an attorney ask for it; if your former employer thinks that you might sue, they may be willing to co-operate. If you still can't get them, you may on fact have to initiate a lawsuit.


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