Oregon employees have a legal right to see and copy their personnel records. Some employers do not know this, and need to be told what the law is. The statute is ORS 652.750. For anyone considering a lawsuit in Oregon for wrongful termination, discrimination, or harassment, obtaining your personnel records is the first step. This article discusses your rights.
What are Personnel Records?
"Personnel Records" are the records used to decide on the employee's qualification for raises, promotion and even initial employment, (except that confidential reports from prior employers might be excluded). Personnel records include records used to decide upon suspension, demotion, other discipline or termination.
What are an Oregon Employee's Rights to See or Copy Personnel Records?
All an employee needs to do is ask, and the employer must provide the employee a reasonable chance to see the personnel records, at the workplace where he or she is working, not at corporate headquarters in Seattle or Tennessee. The employee may request certified copies of personnel records, and the employer has 45 days to provide the records.
The employer may charge the employee a reasonable amount to provide the personnel records.
DON'T WAIT TO ASK FOR YOUR RECORDS!
Oregon law does not require employers to have personnel files. However, if the employer does have personnel records, then Oregon law requires employers to keep personnel records only for 60 days after termination. So if you are fired, request your records right away. You have nothing to lose, because you are already fired.
What if the Employer Still Does Not Provide the Records?
You may file a complaint with the Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries. BOLI has power to investigate and fine the employer $1,000.
Special Rights of Public Safety Officers
Unlike the rest of us, Public Safety Officers must see any negative comments before they go into his or her personnel file. The Public Safety Officer then has 30 days to submit a written response, which must be attached to the negative comment.