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Policy 5207

Confidential Employee Information

I. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that strict confidentiality is maintained in relation to information entrusted to the Human Resources (HR) Office. Although information security is the job of all employees of the HR Office, primary monitoring of the information security program is assigned to the Human Resources Information System (HRIS) manager, whose duty is both records management officer and security officer for all data information within the department.

II. Definition

Any information entrusted to the HR Office's custody on any employee is considered confidential with the following exceptions: employee's name, current or most recent classification, and most recent salary and data items that are determined FOIABLE and meet the standards of the Virginia Public Records Act (§ 42.1-76).

III. POLICY

Any employee may have access to his or her own personnel file. Former employees have no inherent right to view their personnel files. Retirees will be deemed employees for the purposes of this policy.

  1. Written Requests: An employee may request access to his or her personnel file by written request to the HR Office.
  2. Viewing: Typically, when requests are made during normal business hours, employees may view the personnel file immediately with an HR employee present.
  3. Removal: Personnel files should not leave the HR Office for any reason except per subpoena or other court order.
  4. Copying: Employees may obtain copies of documents contained in their own personnel file. Requests should be made in writing, signed and dated by the employee making the request. If the number of pages is five (5) or less, there will be no charge assessed. If the number of pages is more than five (5), a ten (10) cent per page charge will be assessed.
  5. Supervisory Access: An employee's supervisor may access an employee's personnel file on a "need to know" basis. Meaning the purpose must be necessary for a job-related reason, and access to contents of the file will be limited to that part of the file necessary. Again, requests should be made in writing and an employee of the HR Office must be present, the file may not be removed, and the copying limitations described in section "D" above will apply.
  6. Disclosure of Contents to Third Parties: Absent court order, and/or FOIABLE data request that meet the standards of the Virginia Public Records Act (§ 42.1-76), individuals outside an employee's chain of command may not access information contained in the employee's personnel file which is considered confidential, without prior consent of the employee. Spouses and relatives are considered third parties unless in possession of a valid power of attorney for the employee. An employee's legal representative is also considered a third party. Exceptions will be made for survivorship activities associated with decedents' estates.
  7. Incorrect Information: Under normal circumstances, it is the employee's responsibility to keep the HR Office informed of changes in information like address, phone number, dependents, marital status, in-state child support obligations, etc. If erroneous information within anyone's personnel file is discovered, the errors within the file will be corrected.

Revised and approved by the Board of Visitors, September 7, 2002.
Revised and approved by the Board of Visitors, December 7, 2012.