Since the I140 approval notice belongs to the Employer you probably will not get one by filing an I824. You will have to file a Freedom of information Act Request.
As a beneficiary can I directly request my I-140 approval notice on I-797 ? Not from USCIS. You can only request it from the petitioner.
J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.
This is a common problem with no good answer.
A copy of the approval is needed for several purposes: post-sixth year H-1B extensions, portability, Priority Date retention, etc. Yet, USCIS will not even speak with you as Beneficiary about an I-140, and an I-824 wouldn't get you (as opposed to the employer) a copy.
No way to get this but negotiation with the old employer directly - unpleasant though that may be..
You can request a duplicate of your I-140 approval notice by filing Form I-824. You do not need your former employer's cooperation to do so. You may have a timing problem, however. The Vermont Service Center says it is taking 3 months to act on Form I-824 cases, but its current processing time experience is not a guarantee. If your notice came from Nebraska or Texas the processing times are longer (6 months to a year). You and your employer should consult with an immigration attorney. See the link below to the American Immigration Lawyers Association. In this situation, I might try printing the web page showing the I-140 approval from the USCIS web site using the case number and the status report feature.