Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Do you know? Employees have no right to access to personnel files

There is no law in Ohio that requires an employer to grant an employee access to his or her personnel file. There are, however, two key exceptions: medical records and wage and hour records.

1. Medical Records

Ohio Revised Code 4113.23(A) covers employees access to their own medical records. It provides:

No employer … shall refuse upon written request of an employee to furnish to the employee or former employee or their designated representative a copy of any medical report pertaining to the employee. The requirements of this section extend to any medical report arising out of any physical examination by a physician or other health care professional and any hospital or laboratory tests which examinations or tests are required by the employer as a condition of employment or arising out of any injury or disease related to the employee’s employment.

Thus, employees have a right to see the medical records from a physical examination that is required for employment or stemming from a job-related injury or disease. Employers can charge employees for these records, up to 25 cents per page.

2. Wage & Hour Records

Ohio Revised Code 4111.14(G) covers employees access to their own wage and hour records. It requires an employer to provide the following information to an employee or person acting on an employee’s behalf (union representative, attorney, or parent, guardian, or legal custodian) upon request:

  1. Name

  2. Home address;

  3. Occupation;

  4. Rate of pay, which means an employee’s base rate of pay or annual salary, but does not include bonuses, stock options, incentives, deferred compensation, or any other similar form of compensation;

  5. Each amount paid, which means the total gross wages paid to an employee for each pay period; and

  6. Hours worked each day, which means the total amount of time an employee works during a day in whatever increments an employer uses for its payroll purposes (except for exempt employees).

An employer may require that the request be in writing, signed by the employee, notarized, and that it reasonably specifies the particular information being sought. The employer cannot charge the employee for this information, and typically an employer has 30 days to produce the records following a request..

It is not a bad idea for employers to review their current handbooks and other policies to check whether they allow for the disclosure of these two classes of information.