On October 1, amendments to the Connecticut Personnel Files Law went into effect, imposing new requirements on Connecticut employers, including nonprofit organizations, with respect to (a) providing current and former employees with access to their personnel files; (b) notifying employees of discipline and termination documents; and (c) informing employees of their right to submit rebuttals to any performance, disciplinary or termination documents.
Under the amended Personnel Files Law, an employer must provide a current employee with the right to inspect and copy his/her personnel file within seven days of the employer's receipt of such a request. Employers must provide former employees a copy of their personnel file within 10 days if the employee has submitted the request within one year of his/her separation from employment.
The amendments also require an employer to provide an employee with a copy of "any documentation of any disciplinary action imposed on that employee" within one business day after the date the discipline is imposed. If the employee is terminated, the employer must "immediately provide" a copy of "any documented notice of that employee's termination of employment."
Furthermore, with respect to any documented disciplinary action, notice of termination or performance evaluation, employers now must include a written notice stating in "clear and conspicuous language" that if the employee disagrees with any information contained therein, the employee may submit a written statement explaining his/her position. The employee's statement then must be maintained in his/her personnel file.
Finally, the amendments also increase the civil penalties that the Connecticut Department of Labor may impose for violations of the Personnel Files Law. Employers that fail to comply with this law could face a $500 civil penalty for a first violation and a $1,000 civil penalty for each subsequent violation. Even after these amendments, however, the Personnel Files Law does not permit employees to sue their employers directly for such violations. Instead, such complaints must be pursued through the Connecticut Department of Labor.