Policies & Contracts

705 - Employee Access to Personnel Records

Subject: Employee Access to Personnel Records

Section: U705

Date: July, 2017


This policy provides guidance regarding employee personnel record documentation and establishes how often current and former employees, as well as their representatives, can request their personnel records. This policy also establishes how to properly request personnel records, defines documentation to which employees have access, and addresses corrections to personnel records.

Generally, employee personnel records are University documents that capture an employee's qualifications for employment, promotion, transfer, compensation, discharge or other disciplinary action.

Who is governed by this policy:

This policy applies to all staff, temporary staff, and seasonal staff employees.

Employees represented by a union may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.


There is one University employee personnel record housed within the University human resources system. Employee personnel records should not be stored in the department or unit. HR Partners are responsible for uploading relevant documents to the human resources system in a timely manner in order to ensure completeness of records.

Personnel records that will be made available for review by current or former employees contain documents which have been used or which are intended for use in determining the employee's qualifications for employment, promotion, transfer, additional compensation, discharge or other disciplinary action. Certain documents are not subject to employee access. These may include: documents which contain confidential information about other people; documents which are being developed or prepared for use in civil, criminal or grievance procedures; documents relating to the investigation of a possible criminal offense; and medical and hospital records.

Current or former employees or their representatives may request their personnel records twice per calendar year at reasonable intervals. Former University of Chicago employees have access to their personnel records for one year after termination of employment, according to Illinois state law. Legal representatives of the estate have the same access rights as the deceased employee. An employee who is involved in a current grievance can designate, in writing, a representative to request the employee's records which may have no bearing on the resolution of the grievance.

To correct or remove information from the personnel record, the employee or the employee's unit must consult with the Center of Expertise - Employee and Labor Relations. An employee may attach an explanatory statement to any disputed document in their personnel record.

Key Definitions:

Word/Phrase Definition
Center of Expertise – Employee and Labor Relations Employee and Labor Relations partners with department/division/unit HR professionals and Supervisors to provide guidance in the areas of policy, contract administration, performance management, leaves of absence, employment law compliance and various other employment matters.
HR Partner Department/division/unit personnel who serve as the representatives for the department in all human resources issues and initiate key HR processes in campus HR systems on behalf of their department/division/unit.
Local Unit Campus department/division/unit.
Shared Services Office The centralized body that processes transactions, reviews and verifies documentation, enforces policies and regulations, and ensures consistency and accuracy of processes.

Roles and Responsibilities:

Governed Party Roles and Responsibilities
Center of Expertise - Employee and Labor Relations Center of Expertise – Employee and Labor Relations is responsible for reviewing all personnel records. The Center of Expertise is also responsible for reviewing any requests for corrections
Employee Employees are responsible for submitting personnel record requests. Employees are also responsible for providing appropriate supporting documentation when requesting corrections to a personnel record.
HR Partner The HR Partner is responsible for following policies and procedures relating to personnel records. HR Partners must upload relevant personnel records in a timely manner. HR Partners should enforce the policy of not storing documentation within the Local Unit. HR Partners are also eligible for requesting personnel records for internal candidates or individuals within their unit.
Local Unit The Local Unit is responsible for following procedures and policies related to personnel records and document retention. Documentation should not be stored in paper form at the local unit.
Shared Services Office The Shared Services Office is responsible for processing records requests. The Shared Services Office is also responsible for compiling documentation and conferring with the Local Unit in the case of incomplete or missing documentation.

Related Information:


Quick Reference Guide for Uploading Documentation in Workday

Key Contacts:

Name Email  
Employee & Labor Relations elrelations@uchicago.edu  
Shared Services Office