Effective January 1, 2008, private employers with 20 or more employees are required to provide newly hired employees with written notice of the rights and remedies afforded by Minnesota's Personnel Record Review and Access Law. These rights and remedies (which are not new) include the following:

  • Employees have the right to review their personnel records, upon good faith written request, once every six months during employment.
  • Former employees have the right to review their personnel records once per year after termination for so long as the file is maintained.
  • Employers must comply with the written request for review within seven working days of receipt when the records are kept in Minnesota and within 14 working days if the records are kept elsewhere.
  • The personnel records will be made available during normal business hours at the place of employment or a nearby location.
  • A current or former employee may make a written request for a copy of his or her personnel record at no cost to the individual.
  • Should an employee or former employee dispute specific information in the personnel record, the individual can request that the disputed information be removed or revised. If the employer and the individual cannot agree to review or review the disputed information, the individual may submit a written statement (no longer than five written pages) explaining his or her position. The statement must be included with the disputed information for as long as the information is maintained in the personnel record.
  • Employers may not retaliate against any individual for exercising his or her rights under the statute.
  • If an employer violates the statute, an individual can bring a civil action to compel compliance and for actual damages. In retaliation cases, individuals may also seek compliance with the statute and actual damages, as well as reinstatement, back pay, equitable relief and attorneys' fees.

The 2007 amendment to the statute does not define "notice." Some possible options for providing the required notice to new employees upon hire are to: (1) provide a separate document that summarizes the rights and remedies under the statute; (2) provide a separate document attaching the text of the statute; or (3) provide a summary of the rights and remedies in the employee handbook. Regardless of the notice method chosen, employers should retain in the personnel record a signed acknowledgment that the new employee has received the requisite notice. 

New I-9 Forms Must Be Used Starting December 26, 2007

Several weeks ago we informed employers that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service issued a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, and M-274, Handbook for Employers, Instructions for Completing the Form I-9, and we advised employers to start using the new form. Use of the revised form is mandatory after December 26, 2007, and employers who fail to do so may be subject to fines and penalties.

The revised Form I-9 (English and Spanish versions) can be downloaded from:

http://www.uscis.gov/i-9  

The updated employer handbook is available from:

http://www.uscis.gov/files/nativedocuments/m-274.pdf