State law protects the confidentiality of employee personnel records. It also provides employees with the right to review their own personnel files. Specific rights for employees who believe that this file includes inaccurate or misleading records are discussed. Specific information about an employee must be supplied to any member of the public who requests it. Campus administrators who handle personnel files must follow statutory requirements for providing access to and for storing, transmitting, and destroying such files.
Not every record that mentions an employee constitutes a personnel record. When there is doubt, refer inquiries to the Office of Legal Affairs.
As a general rule, all requests for access to personnel information from any person or agency except the subject employee or the employee's supervisors (see VI below), should be referred to the Department of Human Resources (SPA) or the Office of Academic Affairs (EPA) or the Graduate School (Graduate Assistants, Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants).
Current employees: Personnel records on current employees are maintained in a variety of campus offices, depending on the nature of the record.
Former employees: Personnel records on all former SPA employees are retained only in the Department of Human Resources. When employment terminates, all personnel records for SPA positions shall be forwarded to the Department of Human Resources. Personnel records on former EPA employees are retained in the Office of Academic Affairs and in their respective departments/units for up to three years before being sent to the University Archives, where the files are merged.
Unsuccessful applicants for employment: Personnel records on all unsuccessful applicants for SPA employment are retained only in the Department of Human Resources. Personnel records on all unsuccessful applicants for EPA employment are retained in the unit or department conducting the search for three years, and then the files are destroyed.
Current employees: Personnel records for current employees are maintained in the appropriate offices throughout the period of employment, subject to the "relevancy" requirement of Section VII below. For SPA employees who transfer to another department within the University, the former department shall send the personnel records of the transferred SPA employee to the Department of Human Resources.
Former employees: After receiving the personnel records for SPA positions consistent with Section III.B above, the Department of Human Resources shall retain such records for five years; such records shall then be forwarded to the State Archives for permanent storage. When employment terminates for EPA positions, all files are maintained in the Office of Academic Affairs and in their respective departments/units for up to three years and then sent to University Archives for permanent storage. The University Archivist merges all files and maintains a directory of files.
Unsuccessful applicants for employment: Personnel records of all unsuccessful applicants for SPA positions shall be retained in the Department of Human Resources for three years, then destroyed. Personnel records of all unsuccessful applicants for EPA positions shall be retained in the recruiting department/unit for three years and then destroyed.
All supervisors who are above the employee who is the subject of the records in the supervisory chain, or persons authorized by those supervisors to carry out personnel administration functions, but only for purposes of official University business.
The employee, applicant for employment, or former employee who is the subject of a personnel record, who may have access to the personnel record in its entirety, except for confidential letters of recommendation solicited prior to employment, and certain medical records.
"Confidential letters of recommendation" include notes from telephone reference checks and statements from UNC Charlotte and other individuals solicited prior to the initial date of employment. Once a new employee begins at UNC Charlotte, all copies of such confidential letters of recommendation should be forwarded to the Department of Human Resources (SPA employees), to the office of Academic Affairs (EPA employees), or to the Graduate School (Graduate Assistants, Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants).
"Medical records" require special consideration. Records relating to employee medical or counseling services provided by the University Health Service and University Counseling Center are not part of the personnel file. An employee is not entitled to review medical records that are part of his/her personnel file if those records include "information concerning a medical disability, mental or physical, that a prudent physician would not reveal to a patient." That information may be released to a licensed physician designated in writing by the employee.
Because "medical records" present special confidentiality requirements, all copies of such documents should be forwarded to the Benefits Office in the Department of Human Resources.
Employees responsible for maintaining personnel files are expected to review the personnel file for the presence of confidential recommendations and medical records before permitting any employee access to his or her personnel file.
If any case of doubt about whether to disclose information from personnel records, contact the Department of Human Resources or the Office of Academic Affairs.
Information and documents not relevant to personnel administration should not be retained in the personnel file.
The University will notify the employee as promptly as possible when it makes a disclosure of confidential information required or permitted by law, as in response to a subpoena, court order, or to a properly authorized government official. The University official making such disclosure is responsible for notifying the employee in writing, with a copy of the notice to the personnel file. No such notice will be given where the only information requested is information available to the general public.