Chapter 21

Personnel Files and Records




The employing department or unit shall maintain a personnel file for each employee. It should contain only that information which is relevant to the employee's status and performance as an employee, and to the commitments made to and by that employee, i.e., only that information which the University is required to know for the performance of valid and necessary University functions. The employee shall have the right to append signed personal statements to any material in this file concerning its accuracy, relevance, or applicability. If unsolicited material pertaining to the employee is included in the employee's file, the employee shall be so informed. The personnel file is not necessarily a single physical entity and may include electronic records. Collectively, these documents and records constitute the personnel file.


The following materials, if they exist, should be INCLUDED in an employee's personnel file:


Some personnel records are EXCLUDED from the personnel file by operation of law, regulation, or policy. Among these are the following:

Other records may exist for the employee which are not maintained in the same files as the information listed above, such as payroll and benefit information, family and medical leave, and sick-leave and vacation balances. These records can be obtained from the appropriate University offices.


An employee has the right to inspect his/her own personnel file and the right to copy any portion of that file, subject to specific limitations found in § 103.13 (6), Stats.  Whenever a document is added to the personnel file, copies of the document shall be given or electronically transmitted directly to the employee. In addition, the employee has the right to append a personal statement concerning the accuracy, relevance, or applicability of any material in the file. The request to view the personnel file may be made orally or in writing and may be made to the direct supervisor or other custodian of such records. Access to an employee's personnel file shall be provided as soon as possible, and under no circumstances shall it be longer than seven working days from the time of the request.

Access by others within the University shall be on a "need to know" basis; access should be limited to circumstances in which the information sought is essential to a legitimate University purpose.


Under § 103.13 (6), Stats., certain personnel records are not subject to inspection by the employee or his/her representative. These records include records relating to the investigation of possible criminal offenses committed by the employee; letters of reference for that employee; any portion of a test document (except that the employee has the right to see a cumulative total test score for either a section of the test document or for the entire test document); materials used by the employer for staff management planning; information of a personal nature about a person other than the employee if disclosure of the information would constitute an unwarranted invasion of the other person's privacy.


Personnel files are to be retained by the employing department or unit for a period of six years past termination of appointment; then the record is to be transferred to the University Archives for permanent preservation.