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Access to Personnel Files in Pennsylvania

The Personnel Files Act of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania allows employees to look at their personnel files once a year at a convenient time.

As stated by the Act:

An employer shall, at reasonable times, upon request of an employee, permit the employee or an agent designated by the employee to inspect his or her own personnel files used to determine his or her own qualifications for employment, promotion, additional compensation, termination or disciplinary action. The employer shall make these records available during the regular business hours of the office where these records are usually and ordinarily maintained, when sufficient time is available during the course of a regular business day, to inspect the personnel files in question. The employer may require the requesting employee or the agent designated by the employee to inspect such records on the free time of the employee or agent. At the employer’s discretion, the employee may be required to file a written form to request access to the personnel file or files or to indicate a designation of agency for the purpose of file access and inspection. This form is solely for the purpose of identifying the requesting individual or the designated agent of the requesting individual to avoid disclosure to ineligible individuals. To assist the employer in providing the correct records to meet the employer’s need, the employee shall indicate in his written request, either the purpose for which the inspection is requested, or the particular parts of his personnel record which he wishes to inspect or have inspected by the employee’s agent.

Employees may not inspect external letters of reference.  In general, an employer may not require an employee to sign a release prior to viewing the file.

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