Your Personnel File: Know Your Rights (Part 1)

The "Bullard-Plawecki Employee Right to Know Act," MCL 423.501 et seq., provides employees with several rights regarding their personnel files. If you submit a written request describing your personnel record to your employer (or former employer), your employer must provide you with an opportunity to periodically review your personnel file. You can do so at "reasonable intervals," usually "not more than 2 times in a calendar year" (though there are exceptions).

If you review your file, you have the right do so at a location reasonably near where you work. The review must occur during normal office hours unless your employer agrees otherwise or the review would require you to take time off of work with the responding employer. Your employer may (but is not required to) allow the review to take place at another time or location that would be more convenient for you.

You may also obtain a copy of your personnel file after the review, though your employer may charge you reasonable copying costs. Further, you may request that the employer send you a copy of your personnel file without a review if you can demonstrate that you cannot review your file where you work. However, employers often simply mail a copy of the file if the employee requests it (even without the employee demonstrating he or she cannot review it).

If you disagree with information contained in your personnel file, you and your employer can mutually agree to remove or correct that information. If you cannot agree, you may submit a written statement explaining why you disagree, but it is limited to 5 sheets of 8-1/2-inch by 11-inch paper. Any such statement must be included when the information is divulged to a third party and as long as the original information is a part of the file. If your employer knowingly places false information in your personnel file, you may file an action to have that information removed.

I will provide more information regarding the "Bullard-Plawecki Act" in my next blog, including information about other duties required of your employer and penalties for violations.

If you submit your potential case to Fett & Fields, P.C., we will assist you in starting the process of obtaining your personnel file. You can contact us at:

Note: This blog entry is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. You should always consult with an attorney before taking or refraining from taking any action in your individual situation

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