Virginia has a new law that went into effect July 1, 2019, regarding employee access to personnel records.  The Virginia law is a first of its kind, but more and more states are adopting such statutes.  Laws requiring access to personnel documents vary by state. Multistate employers should check to make sure they are in compliance in each state they operate in.  Federal laws do not govern employee access to personnel files. 

Specifically, Virginia’s amended statute states:

“Every employer shall, upon receipt of a written request from a current or former employee or employee’s attorney, furnish a copy of all records or papers retained by the employer in any format,reflecting (i) the employee’s dates of employment with the employer; (ii) the employee’s wages or salary during the employment; (iii) the employee’s job description and job title during the employment; and (iv) any injuries sustained by the employee during the course of the employment with the employer. Such records or papers shall be provided within 30 days of receipt of such a written request.

If the employer is unable to provide such records or papers within 30 days, the employer shall notify the requester of such records or papers in writing of the reason for the delay and shall have no more than 30 days after the date of such written notice to comply with such request. “

Virginia Code § 8.01-413(B)

Employers should develop internal policies and procedures for reviewing and responding to personnel file requests.  They should also ensure their policies comply with all states in which they do business in. Multistate employers should have state addenda in their employee handbooks, including any applicable policies for personnel documents, for each state in which they have employees.