Your Personnel File: Know Your Rights (Part 2)

This is part two of my blog regarding The "Bullard-Plawecki Employee Right to Know Act," MCL 423.501 et seq., which provides employees with several rights regarding their personnel files.

Your employer has several duties under the "Bullard-Plawecki Act." Those not set forth in my last blog include:

1. Your employer must review your personnel file before releasing information to a third party and delete disciplinary records which are more than 4 years old. Your employer does not have to delete those records if they are ordered to be released in a legal action or arbitration to a party in that legal action or arbitration.

2. Your employer cannot gather or keep a record of your associations, political activities, publications, or communications of nonemployment activities unless you permit it or gave the information to your employer in writing. Note, however, that those records may be gathered or collected if the activities occur on your employer's premises or during your working hours and it interferes with your performance of your duties or your coworkers' duties.

3. If your employer has reasonable cause to believe that you are engaged in criminal activity which may result in loss or damage to its property or disruption of its business operations, and your employer is conducting an investigation, then your employer may keep a separate file of information relating to the investigation. Upon completion of the investigation or after 2 years, whichever comes first, your employer must notifiy you of the investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, if disciplinary action is not taken, your employer must destroy the investigative file and all copies of it. (Note that if your employer is a criminal justice agency, different requirements apply to its investigative files.)

Finally, you may file a legal action to make your employer comply with the Act. The court may punish your employer's failure to comply by holding it in contempt of court. If you prevail, it must also award you actual damages plus costs, and, if your employer wilfully and knowingly violated the Act, the court must award you $200.00 plus costs, reasonable attorney's fees, and actual damages.

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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