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Employee Access to Personnel and Time and Pay Records

ORS 652.750 requires employers to provide a reasonable opportunity for employees to inspect their personnel and time and pay records and obtain copies of these records upon request.

 
Q: What records are included?
A: Personnel records include all records used to determine the employee’s qualifications for employment, promotion, additional compensation, termination or other disciplinary actions. Effective January 1, 2017, employers also must make available time and pay records.
Here is a sample list of documents considered to be personnel records:
·          Job announcements
·          Applications
·          Resumes
·          Records of Promotion
·          Pay increase documentation
·          Performance reviews
·          Supervisor notes pertaining to named personnel actions
·          Disciplinary actions; records of verbal and written warnings
·          Notices of termination
 
Q: If I receive a request from an employee for copies of all of the employee’s personnel records, do I need to provide copies of all of the time and pay records for three years?
A: Many employers have expressed concern about automatically being required to produce time and pay records going back three years if an employee requests access to or copies of their personnel records. Nothing in ORS 652.750 prohibits an employer from inquiring whether employees making a request for records want access to or copies of all of their time and pay records or only their personnel records. Clarifying what records the employee would like to inspect or obtain might narrow the number of documents to be provided. However, if the employee requests all of the time and pay records, the statute requires them to be provided.
 
Q: What should not be included in these records?
A: There should be no medical records, tax records or immigration documents included in response to an employee’s request for their personnel records. Only records which have been used to determine an employee’s qualifications for employment, promotion, additional compensation, termination or other disciplinary action, and time and pay records (if requested) must be included.
           
Q: How soon do I need to produce these records?
A: ORS 652.750(2) requires the records to be produced within 45 days of the employee’s request. Most employers prefer and offer to provide copies of the records rather than allowing the inspection of originals, however, an employee must be provided a reasonable opportunity to inspect records at their place of employment or place of work assignment if requested. Employers may charge a reasonable fee to recover the actual cost of providing the records.
 
Q: I reviewed ORS 652.750(2) and there is reference to providing certified copies. What is that? Do I need to notarize something?
A: There is no formal process to certify personnel records. A cover letter signed by the custodian of records or the Human Resources manager certifying the copies as true and correct should be sufficient to meet this requirement.
Q: How long should an employer keep these records?
A: The statute requires employers to retain an employee’s personnel records for at least 60 days after termination.
Time records must be retained for two years, and payroll records for three years.
The statute of limitation for a wage or contract claim is six years. An employer would be at a distinct disadvantage if they did not have these records while defending a civil rights or wage claim and may choose to retain the records for at least seven years.
 
Updated June 2017

 

DISCLAIMER 
Nothing on this website is intended as legal advice.  Any responses to specific questions are based on the facts as we understand them, and not intended to apply to any other situations.  This communication is not an agency order.  If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.  We attempt to update the information on this website as soon as practicable following changes or developments in the laws and rules affecting Oregon employers, but we make no warranties or representations, express or implied, about whether the information provided is current.  We urge you to check the applicable statutes and administrative rules yourself and to consult with legal counsel prior to taking action that may invoke employee rights or employer responsibilities or omitting to act when required by law to act.
 
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR EMPLOYERS
800 NE OREGON STREET, STE 1045
PORTLAND, OR  97232
971-673-0824
 
 
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