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How To Get A Copy Of Your Personnel File At Work


You canot force an employer to turn over your personnel file because, unlike the courts, you don't have subpoena power (you can't force the employer to do what you want.)

With this in mind, to maximize your chances of getting a copy of your personnel file, consider the following:

  • Approach the employer in a friendly manner.
  • Make your request to the person in Human Resources who has the reputation of being most helpful or who you found to be the most helpful to you.
  • Let the employer know why you want the file. Otherwise fear of the unknown may come into play and the employer may think you're asking for a copy of the file to set up a claim against the employer.
  • It's better for you or a representative who is not a professional to ask for the file. If an attorney makes the request, it sets off bells -- and may even involve the employer's lawyers.

If the employer refuses to give you a copy of the files:

  • Think about whether there could be any information in the file which could be damaging to your request for Social Security Disability.
  • If you believe the file bolsters your argument, and there is nothing in it that could hurt you -- ask your Social Security Representative or the analyst at the state determining office to request the records. There's nothing to lose.
  • If all else fails, if you are turned down by Social Security and appeal, you can ask the judge to subpoena the records.

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