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4.11 Employee Personnel Records Management

Origination date: 10/1/93
Revised: 1/1/2000
Applicability: Academic Professionals, Administrators, Classified Staff, Faculty, Service Professionals


The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to employees and supervisors regarding records which must be maintained by the university in accordance with state and federal laws.

Official Personnel Records

The Human Resources Department maintains an official personnel record for probationary and regular employees.

Contents of Official and Other Personnel Records

Typically, each employee's official personnel record contains the following:

  1. All job application forms, resumes, vitae, transcripts, letters of reference and other employment-related documents submitted to the university for original employment or subsequent position changes, except any document(s) submitted based upon a promise to the party furnishing them that they would be held in confidence and/or not disclosed to the employee or other persons.
  2. copies of all performance appraisal reports for classified staff and service professionals.
  3. A chronological file, record, or copies of approved personnel action forms, memoranda, or other documents that reflect authorized changes in employment status, salary, etc., when such documents are available.
  4. Official correspondence with or about the employee, including any letters of commendation, reprimand, or employee comments concerning statements contained in the file.
  5. Documents acknowledging or verifying receipt by an employee of disciplinary communications. (Warnings, either verbal or written, are not considered disciplinary communications.)
  6. Documents, certificates, diplomas, etc., related to further education, training and certification completed by the employee.
  7. Any other document, form, letter, memorandum, agreement, etc., that is deemed by the Chief Human Resources Officer to be an employee record that should be placed in the official personnel record.

The following documents shall not be placed in or be deemed a part of the official personnel record and shall not be subject to access under "Disclosure of Other Personnel Records" hereof:

  1. Documents and papers including, but not limited to, complaints from any source regarding an employee's performance and letters of reference or recommendation which have been furnished under a promise of confidentiality or other statement that they will not be disclosed to the employee or other persons.
  2. Documents and papers constituting the preliminary portion of the employee evaluation process including, but not limited to, notes taken by and records prepared by supervisory personnel and peer reviewers which are not made a verbatim part of the final evaluation documents concerning an employee.
  3. Letters or communications or memoranda thereof pertaining to alleged or actual employee misconduct which are received or prepared by supervisory personnel unless, and not until, the documents themselves as described herein are used as the basis for the subsequent imposition of discipline.
  4. Any and all medical records or evaluations submitted as a result of a "fitness for duty" examination or as part of the screening process required for the recruitment of police officers and recruits.

Disclosure of Personnel Records

The official personnel records may be disclosed only to the following persons:

  1. University personnel who are determined by the Chief Human Resources Officer or the president or his/her designee to have a need for such records to fulfill a university-related function, including use in any judicial or administrative proceeding, or employee selection process, which relates to employment matters concerning the affected employee or others.
  2. Arizona Board of Regents officials in the normal line of duty.
  3. In response to a lawfully issued judicial or administrative subpoena or an order of a court of competent jurisdiction, provided that if the subpoena or order is not issued on behalf of the affected employee, a reasonable effort shall be made to notify the affected employee of the subpoena or order prior to compliance therewith.
  4. Federal or state officials such as the United States Internal Revenue Service, United States Department of Labor, United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Civil Rights Division of the Arizona Attorney General's Office, United States Contracting Agencies and the Arizona Department of Revenue, when authorized by applicable federal or state law or regulation or when needed to respond to investigations or inquiries initiated by such officials.
  5. The employee, or a person authorized by the employee in writing, to review his/her own official personnel record.
  6. Appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency, if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the employee whose records are sought or other individuals. The factors to be taken into account in determining whether personally-identifiable information may be disclosed under this subparagraph shall include the following: (1) the seriousness of the threat to the health or safety of the employee or other individuals; (2) the need for the information to meet the emergency; (3) whether the parties to whom the information is disclosed are able to deal with the emergency; and (4) the extent to which time is of the essence in dealing with the emergency.
  7. Appropriate parties responsible for reviewing and elaborating on an employee’s work history may review performance appraisals, letters of recommendation, etc.

Disclosure of Other Personnel Records

Those records identified as not being part of the official personnel record shall not be accessible to the affected employee nor to other employees or persons, except under the conditions set forth in the "Disclosure of Personnel Records" portion of this policy.

Procedure for Viewing Employee Files

If an employee wishes to view the contents of his/her Human Resources Department file, he/she should set up an appointment to do so with a representative of the Human Resources Department. The employee should not assume that the staff member will make copies of any items in the file during this viewing, but may request specific copies to be picked up at a later date. A charge may be made for copies.

Effect of Public Records Laws

Personnel records may be disclosed based upon requests received pursuant to Arizona's Public Records statute A.R.S.39-121.01, when the university determines that such disclosure is required.