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EIU Office of Internal Auditing

#10 - Employee Personnel Records

Approved: June 18, 1997

Monitor: President

Illinois Access to Personnel Records Act

820 ILCS 40/4 et seq. establishes the right of employees to inspect and copy their personnel records and to insert therein a statement of fact in case of disputed information. This statute requires all employers, including state universities, to permit employees to inspect personnel documents relating to qualifications for employment, promotion, transfer, additional compensation, discharge, or other disciplinary action with certain exceptions.

Record Inspection

Upon written request of the employee, the employer must grant the inspection opportunity within seven working days. Date may be extended an additional seven days, if the employer can reasonably show the deadline cannot be met.

The inspection shall take place on the work premises during normal working hours. If the employee demonstrates inability to review the records on the work premises during normal working hours, the employer must mail a copy to the employee on written request.

The employee may obtain copies of all or part of his/her personnel records, and the employer may charge a fee limited to the cost of providing such copies. The employee may not remove the records from the premises, and the employer shall have the right to protect the records from loss, damage or alteration and to insure their integrity.

Record Exceptions

The following personnel documents are excluded:

  1. letters of reference related to initial employment,
  2. test documents (except for test scores),
  3. materials used for management planning, including but not limited to judgments, external peer review documents concerning future salary increases or other wage treatments, management bonus plans, promotions and job assignments, or other comments or ratings used for planning purposes,
  4. information about another person that would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy,
  5. records relevant to any other pending claim between the employer and employee which may be discovered in a judicial proceeding.

Third Party Inspection

An employee involved in a current grievance against an employer may designate a union or other representative to inspect his/her personnel record.

An employer shall not divulge a disciplinary report, letter of reprimand, or other disciplinary action to a third party, to a party who is not a part of the employer's organization, or to a party who is not part of a union representing the employee without notice to the employee mailed to the last known address on or before the day the information is divulged, except when:

  1. such notice has been waived in a signed employment application with another employer,
  2. the disclosure is ordered to a party in a legal action or arbitration, or
  3. the information is requested by a government agency as a result of a claim or complaint by the employee or as a result of a criminal investigation by such agency.

Except in the case of a release under Item 2 above, the employer shall delete from the information provided to a third party disciplinary reports, letters of reprimand, or other records of disciplinary action more than four years old.

Record Disagreement

If an employee disagrees with any information in his/her personnel record and the employer does not agree to its removal or correction, the employee may submit a statement explaining his/her position, which shall be attached to the disputed portion of the record and which shall be included whenever the disputed portion is released to a third party.

Record Restriction

An employer shall not gather or keep a record of an employee's associations, political activities, publications (except publications identified to the employer by or on behalf of the employee), communications, or non-employment activities unless consented to in writing by the employee.

This prohibition shall not apply to activities on the employer's premises during working hours which interfere with performance of the employee's duties or the duties of other employees; or to activities regardless of when and where occurring, which constitute criminal conduct, or may reasonably be expected to harm the employer's property, business operations or could cause the employer financial liability. A record of the information kept in accordance with the preceding sentence shall be part of the personnel record, but is exempt from inspection insofar as it constitutes an investigatory record, until the employer takes adverse personnel action based on such information.

Personnel record information which was not included in the personnel record but should have been, as required by the Act, shall not be used by the employer in a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding, unless requested by the employee, or the judge or hearing officer finds that the exclusion was not intentional and the employee is given a reasonable time to review the information or consents to its use.


If an employer violates this Act, an employee may sue for injunctive relief in the circuit court, which, in addition, shall award a prevailing employee actual damages and costs plus $200 and reasonable attorney fees for a willful and knowing violation.


This policy is superseded by collective bargaining agreements in force with the University.

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