FAQ Friday – Can I ask for my personnel records?

Q: I want to ask for a copy of my personnel record from my last Idaho employer.  What time frame does the employer have to respond to this request?  Can the employer charge a fee for photocopying?  If so, what is the standard rate?

A: According to Idaho law, employers must maintain employment records for a minimum of three (3) years from the last date of the employee’s service. Personnel documents are considered to be the property of the employer, consequently, any obligation to share these documents, absent a subpoena, is contractual between the company and the employee or the company and its union.

The best thing to do is to first simply ask for the records from the employer. Typically, the individual would be allowed to view the file on the company’s premises and to make copies of documents, which often can be at the individual’s expense. However, even if your former employer agrees to do so, there is no law that requires an them to provide or send the complete file.

If that fails, request the documents through an attorney or Legal Aid.

As a point of interest, Idaho law does require employers to provide, upon request by the employee, information in writing on rate of pay and day of payment. Employers are also required to – at the employee’s request – provide notice to its employees of any reduction in wages prior to the work being performed.