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Can obtain a copy of my personnel file or review my personnel file after termination as an at-will employee?

Detroit, MI |

Was terminated after eight years in June, 2012 as an at -will employee without a reason given. Approximately one month later an individual twenty years my junior was hired to replace me. the termination was without warning or provocation.

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I'm a Michigan lawyer who has focused on employment law since 2001. An employee may review his or her personnel record under Michigan law. To do so you should submit a written request to the employer (the MI statute is MCL 423.503). The request should include as many identifying factors as possible to facilitate the employer’s retrieval of the record, including the employee’s name, job title, dates of employment, and work location. An employee may review his or her personnel record at reasonable intervals, generally not more than twice in a calendar year. The employer must make the record available at a location reasonably near the employee’s place of employment and during normal office hours. If a review during normal office hours would require an employee to take time off from work with that employer, the employer must provide some other reasonable time for the review. I hope this helps. More Michigan employment related resources can be found at under the resources tab.

I'm licensed in Michigan. My response is provided only to educate the public about issues that may need to be discussed with competent legal counsel in your state. My response is not a substitute for consulting an attorney in order to fully understand how the law may apply to your specific and unique circumstances; Remember, you often get what you pay for.


My understanding of Michigan law (note that I am not licensed in Michigan and not overly familiar with its statutes) is that, Under Michigan’s Bullard-Plawecki Employee Right to Know Act (“ERKA”), employees have the right to review their personnel file upon written request. Employees are also allowed to make photocopies of their employee files (at the employee's expense).

A quick search turned up this "form letter" for requesting access to or copies of your personnel file:

Since the law applies to any employee or former employee hired by any employer with four or more employees in either the private or public sector, you should still be able to request a the opportunity to review or photocopy your file despite the fact that you are no longer employed.

Many states do not give employees or former employees the option of viewing or copying their personnel files. But it looks like that option is available to you.

One other note. If, after consulting with counsel, you end up in a legal action against your former employer, you will certainly be able to gain access to the file through the discovery process.

I hope this information is helpful. Best of luck.


My thoughts and comments are for general information only. The do not constitute legal advice and they should not relied upon as such. My thoughts and comments do not form an attorney-client relationship--I am not your attorney. Please seek the advice of a licensed attorney before taking any acts based upon my thoughts and comments or the comments of others.


In MI you can be terminated for a "good" reason,
"bad" reason or "no" reason at all. Your employer
doesn't have to give you a reason. Still, employees
would like to know why. Were you about to "report"
him or company for violations? Were you "injured"
on-the-job then fired? LOOK at your files and see
what they notated about you. If there's a problem
then talk in-person with an employment attorney.