Connecticut’s new personnel file law takes effect tomorrow: are you prepared?

McCarter & English, LLP

Connecticut’s Public Act 13-176, An Act Concerning Employee Access to Personnel Files, goes into effect on October 1.  The new law amends Connecticut’s employee personnel file law and changes employers’ obligations and the penalties for violations.

Employers must:

  • Respond to an employee’s written request to inspect or copy his or her personnel file:
  • Within 7 business days for current employees. 

  • Within 10 business days for a former employee, provided the request was received within one year of the employee’s termination.

         (Prior to October 1, 2013, an employer was required to respond to such requests “within a reasonable time.”)

  • Provide an employee with any written documentation of disciplinary action taken, within one business day of imposing the discipline on the employee.  (New requirement)
  • Immediately provide a terminated employee with any documented notice of the employee’s termination.  (New requirement)
  • Include a statement in disciplinary action documents, notices of termination and performance evaluations in “clear and conspicuous language” that the employee, if s/he disagrees with any of the information in the document, may submit a written statement of the employee’s position, which will be maintained as part of the personnel file and included in any transmittal or disclosure of the personnel file to a third party.  (New requirement)

Changes to Penalties:

  • Penalties are discretionary.  (Prior to October 1, 2013, they were mandatory)
  • A penalty of up to $500 for the first violation concerning an employee/former employee.  (Prior to October 1, 2013, the penalty was $500)
  • In setting the penalty, the Labor Commissioner must consider all factors the Commissioner deems relevant, including: “(1) the level of assessment necessary to insure immediate and continued compliance . . .; (2) the character and degree of impact of the violation; and (3) any prior violations of such employer of [this chapter].”

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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