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Inspection of Personnel Files by Terminated Employee

The Pennsylvania Personnel Files Act governs an employee’s right to inspect his or her personnel file.  Although the Act clearly applies only to “any person currently employed, laid off with re-employment rights, or on a leave of absence,” the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court recently expanded the definition of “current employee.”  According to the Court in Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals v. Pennsylvania Department of  Labor and Industry, Bureau of Labor Law Compliance, No. 2275 C.D. 2014 (Pa. Commw. Ct. January 6, 2014), the term “current” employee includes employees who have been “recently terminated.”  Without providing any additional guidance, the court concluded that an employee who makes an inspection request within one week of termination is entitled to inspect the personnel file. Consequently, in the future, employers will have to make a case by case determination with respect to whether a terminated employee’s request was made close enough to the termination date to entitle the employee to inspect the personnel file.

For more information regarding the Pennsylvania Personnel Files Act, inspection rights, or any other labor and employment law matter, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Labor and Employment Department.