Prudence Not Paranoia:
Do You Know What's In Your Personnel File?
Every faculty member at SRJC has a personnel file residing in the Human Resources department inside the Button Building on the Santa Rosa Campus. Most of us probably go about our business, working diligently each day, rarely thinking about our personnel file—or what's in it. It might be wise, however, to spend a few minutes and take a stroll over to Button Hall to visit your personnel file!
Why should you inspect your personnel file?
Your personnel file contains your employment records and a log. The records may consist of material that could serve as a basis for suspension, dismissal, or reprimand. Other records that eventually land in your personnel file are your current evaluation file and, for contract faculty, your tenure review file, they are placed in your personnel file when those processes are complete. The log is a record of who has looked at your personnel file, when it was accessed, and for what reason. If any of the records in your file are inaccurate, if records that shouldn't have found their way to your file, or if your file was illegitimately accessed, then these actions must be quickly addressed to minimize any risk to you.
Do you have access to your personnel file?
Yes, faculty members have a contractual right to access their personnel file. Article 20.03.B from the 2014-2017 Contract between AFA and the Sonoma County Junior College District states:
1. Every unit member shall have the right, during reasonable business hours and without loss of pay,
to inspect any employment record retained in the personnel files of the District that may serve as
a basis for affecting the status of his/her employment.
2. The faculty member may copy documents in his/her own personnel file.
Others also have access to your file
1. Anyone with your consent (with written authorization if you are not able to be present).
2. Your direct supervisor or any supervisor above him or her.
3. Persons authorized by the District with a "need to know," such as attorneys.
4. HR staff performing administrative duties.
5. Members of your evaluation team, but only if performing a follow-up evaluation,
and their access is limited to the previous evaluation.
6. Members of your tenure review team, who may access only your tenure review materials.
As many people have access to your file, it makes sense to periodically check your file and log for irregularities or errors.
Other Notes Regarding Personnel Files
• When checking the log, be aware that any time new material (other than required evaluation and tenure review material) is added to your file, you are to be notified. If materials appear in your personnel file unbeknownst to you, please contact the AFA Conciliation/Grievance Officer.
• Materials not related to your assigned duties or professional responsibilities are not to be placed in your personnel file.
• In the event that any derogatory written material is to be placed in your personnel file, you will first be provided with copies of the materials and given ten days to respond in writing before the material is placed in your file. Contact the AFA Conciliation/Grievance Officer with concerns.
• No anonymous material shall become part of your employment record.
• If you notice necessary corrections that need to be made to your personnel file, contact the AFA Conciliation/Grievance Officer for assistance.