Written Notice of the Right to Review Personnel Records to be Required

The Minnesota Personnel Record Review and Access Act, which covers all private employers with 20 or more employees, generally sets forth employees’ rights to review and dispute the information contained in their personnel files.  Pursuant to a recent amendment, effective January 1, 2008 (to be codified at Minn. Stat. § 181.9631 (2007)), covered employers must provide written notice to all newly hired employees of the “rights and remedies” afforded under the statute.  These rights and remedies include the following:

  • Employees have a right to review their file, upon a written request made in good faith, once every six months while employed.
  • After termination, employees may review their records once annually for as long as the employer maintains the record.
  • An employer must comply with an employee’s good faith, written request to review his or her file within seven working days if the record is within the state, and within 14 working days if the record is out of state.
  • After the review, the employee may request in writing a copy of the record.  If such a request is made, the employer must provide a copy, at no charge, to the employee.
  • If the employee disputes information contained in the record and the employer does not agree to remove or revise the disputed information, the employee may submit a written statement explaining the employee’s position.  This statement must be included in the personnel file for as long as the employer maintains it.
  • If an employer violates the statute, employees may bring a civil action to compel compliance and for actual damages and costs.
  • Employers may not retaliate against employees for asserting rights or remedies under the statute.  If an employer unlawfully retaliates against an employee, the employee may bring a civil action to compel compliance and for actual damages, back pay, reinstatement, equitable relief, and attorney fees.

The amendment does not define “written notice.”  Accordingly, employers may include the requisite notice in their new-hire materials either as a separate document or as a part of an employee handbook. Click on graphic below below for an example of the former.


Originally appeared in Dorsey's Employment Law Update