Employers need to be aware of three changes to Connecticut's Personnel Files Law passed by the legislature this year:
1. Employers must attach notices to all performance evaluations and disciplinary or termination documents advising employees that if they disagree with the employer, they may submit a written statement of their position that will become part of their personnel file. Employees have long had this right, but the notice is newly required.
2. Employers must provide an employee with "a copy of any documentation of any disciplinary action imposed on that employee not more than one business day after the date of imposing such action" and "shall immediately provide an employee with a copy of any documented notice of that employee's termination of employment." It is important to note that this does not mandate creation of documentation of disciplinary or termination decisions, only that whatever documentation or notice exists be provided.
3. The final change requires that an employer respond to an employee's written request to review or obtain a copy of his or her personnel file within seven days and within 10 days for a former employee. Previously employers had a "reasonable time" to respond to such requests.
It would be wise to review and revise your performance evaluation and disciplinary (counseling, warning, termination) documents as necessary to comply with these changes in the law. Following are suggestions for statements you might consider adding to your documents. The first two are not necessarily new, but important to include. The third responds specifically to the change in the law.
1. "An employee's signature on a document means that the matters described in it have been discussed with the employee and that he or she acknowledges receiving a copy."
2. "Unless it states otherwise, an employee's signature does not mean that employee agrees with the information or situation described in a document."
3. "Should an employee disagree with any of the information contained in a document, the employee may submit a written statement explaining his or her position, either on the document or in a separate written statement. Such a statement shall be maintained as part of the employee's personnel file and shall accompany any transmittal or disclosure from such file or records made to a third party."
Review the full text of the changes to Connecticut's revised Personnel Files Law.