Access to Duke or Department Personnel File(s) and Recordkeeping Requirements Policy

Policy Statement

Duke maintains individually identifiable personnel files on persons who have been or who are its staff, for the purpose of making employment decisions.

A staff member is entitled to inspect or to obtain a copy of his or her own Duke or department personnel file. Duke personnel files may only be examined within the confines of the Office of Human Resources during normal work hours. A record will be maintained of all individuals and agencies requesting information from personnel files. Department personnel files may only be examined within the confines of a supervisor’s office, with the supervisor present.

No individual or private or public agency external to Duke will be permitted access to any individual's Duke personnel file without the express written consent of the individual concerned, but with the following exceptions.

Information in such files will be provided voluntarily to federal or state agencies when: the agency has jurisdiction to make the particular inquiry, the information being sought is obtainable by subpoena, and the appropriate Duke officials are satisfied that the information being sought is actually pertinent to the agency's inquiry. Duke staff have access to another staff member’s Duke or department personnel file only on the basis of a need to know. All persons examining a file on the basis of a need to know will treat the contents of the file as confidential, unless under legal subpoena and/or when contents may be incorporated into a recommendation governing the future status of the staff member.

Policy Details

Department Files

Duke staff may review their department personnel file by scheduling an appointment with his or her supervisor. The supervisor must be in attendance during the file review, and the file is to be viewed only within the office where it is kept. Staff may add letters of recommendation or other materials that they deem to be useful for employment references in their department personnel files. When a staff member transfers from one department to another, the department personnel file should be forwarded to the hiring department. The current department may retain a copy of the department personnel file if desired.

Duke Personnel File

The Office of Human Resources maintains a copy of each staff member’s personnel file. This file contains payroll and benefits forms as well as all change-in-status forms and other correspondence regarding a staff member’s employment history at Duke. These files are available for review by a staff member upon request. The staff member should contact the Human Resources Office to schedule an appointment. In all cases, the file is to be viewed only within the Office of Human Resources. Ordinarily, the only information that will be released from a staff member's personnel file in response to an outside inquiry will be job titles and dates of employment – except in instances when further information is required to be divulged by law or by the provisions of an applicable contract or grant. A staff member may authorize the release of additional information by submitting a written request to the entity or department Human Resources representative or the Duke Human Resources office. To ensure accurate contact information and to comply with the Internal Revenue Service's tax reporting requirements, staff members must immediately report any of the following changes to their supervisor and/or to Duke Human Resources:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Emergency contacts
  • Immigration status
  • Marital stat

Recordkeeping Requirements

Ordinarily, the only information that will be released from a staff member's personnel file in response to an outside inquiry will be job title and dates of employment, except in instances when further information is required to be divulged by law or by the provisions of an applicable contract or grant. A staff member may authorize the release of additional information (e.g., for bank, credit or employment references) by submitting a written request to the entity/department Human Resources representative or the Duke Human Resources office.

The following chart provides employment recordkeeping requirements. Most of this information is stored centrally in HR/Payroll records and does not need to be kept by the department.

InformationRetention requirementLaw
Staff member name and any identifying number used in place of the name used on any work records (stored centrally)4 years from tax due date or payment of tax, whichever is laterSocial Security Act
Social Security Number (stored centrally)4 years from tax due date or payment of tax, whichever is laterSocial Security Act
Staff member home address, including zip code (stored centrally)4 years from tax due date or payment of tax, whichever is laterSocial Security Act
Date of birth if the staff member is under 19 (stored centrally)3 yearsFLSA

Equal Pay Act
Date of birth of all staff members (stored centrally)3 yearsADEA
Gender of staff member (stored centrally)3 yearsFLSA

Equal Pay Act
Occupation of staff member (stored centrally)3 yearsFLSA

Equal Pay Act

ADEA
Age records (stored centrally)No time period specified by lawERISA
Service record to determine whether a staff member has worked 1000 hours or has incurred a break in service (stored centrally)No time period specified by lawERISA
Marital status record (stored centrally)No time period specified by lawERISA
Form I-9 (stored centrally)3 years after hire or the date of recruitment or referral (if directed from an employment agency) or, after termination, for one year or 3 years after hiring, whichever is laterImmigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
Complete job application3 yearsTitle VII

ADA
Resumes or other forms of employment inquiry3 yearsADEA
Other hiring material3 yearsTitle VII

ADA
Job orders submitted by an employer to an employment agency3 yearsADEA
Test papers for a position if the test paper discloses the result of the test3 yearsADEA
Results of any physical examination that is considered by the employer in connection with personnel action1 yearADA
Any advertisements relating to job openings3 yearsADEA
Records of job movement (promotions, demotions, transfers)1 yearTitle VII

ADA

ADEA
Material relating to layoffs1 yearTitle VII

ADA

ADEA
Material relating to termination1 year

 

Records of involuntarily terminated staff members must be kept for a period of one year from the date of termination.

Title VII

ADA
Selection for training or apprenticeship1 yearTitle VII

ADA

ADEA
Requests for physical job accommodation1 yearADA

*The safest course is to retain all records for 4 years.

Policy Number: 04.08

Issued Date

July 1, 2006
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Workplace Expectations & Guidelines Policy