Washington law requires employers to make an employee’s personnel records available within a reasonable time after the employee makes a request.  Current or former employees can request their personnel records once a year. Generally, the personnel records must be made available within 10 business days after the request is made. The types of documents that count as “personnel records” is broad, and includes the following:

  • records regularly maintained by the employer as part of the company’s business records
  • records subject to reference for information given to persons outside the company
  • documents containing employees’ qualifications
  • verification of training completed
  • signed job descriptions
  • supervisor’s files
  • all performance evaluations and letters of commendation or reprimand
  • salary, sick and vacation leave hours
  • summaries of benefits and other similar information
  • other records of employment

When making a request for personnel records, we often keep it short and to the point, while making sure that the employer is aware that the records are more than what happens to be stored in an employee’s personnel file.  Here is an example:

Dear Company,

I am requesting a copy of my personnel records pursuant to RCW 49.12.250.  Within 10 business days of the date of this request, please send me the contents of my personnel file and the following:

  • records regularly maintained as part of your business records
  • records subject to reference for information given to persons outside your company
  • documents containing or reflecting my qualifications
  • verification of any or all training I completed
  • any or all of my job descriptions
  • my supervisor’s files on me
  • all my performance evaluations, commendations, or reprimands 
  • my salary, sick and vacation leave hours
  • summaries of my benefits and other similar information
  • other records or communications related to my employment

You can email me the personnel records at name@domain.com or mail them to the following address:

Name
Address
City, State Zip

Sincerely,
Name

If the employer does not provide your personnel records, you can file a complaint with the Washington Department of Labor and Industries, which is available at 866-219-7321.

Klein Munsinger LLC is a law firm located in Portland, Oregon which focusses on employment law matters in Oregon and Washington.  You can learn more about the firm here, or you can contact us at connect@kleinmunsinger.com  or 503-568-1078.

The contents of this page are not legal advice, and an attorney-client relationship with Klein Munsinger LLC is only formed when a written retainer agreement is signed. 

Blog_Logos_Lyft_UberThe competition between Lyft and Uber has moved into the realm of resolving sexual harassment and assault claims.  Both companies announced that survivors of sexual assault and harassment will no longer be required to resolve their claims in arbitration.  That means survivors will be able to choose the forum in which they present their claims, including in a public lawsuit.

Second, and equally important from a litigation perspective, settlement agreements resulting from a claim of sexual assault or harassment will no longer have confidentiality provisions that prevent the survivor from telling their story.  In my years of employment litigation, I have yet to see an employer not demand a confidentiality provision as part of a negotiated settlement.

These new company policies apply to drivers, riders, and employees, and both companies stated that they are making these changes in order to increase transparency.  While this is a welcome move from the companies and appears to be part of a broader trend (Microsoft has announced a similar policy), it may also have something to do with the fact that under the new tax law, companies cannot deduct the cost of settlements or attorney fees for sexual harassment claims if a confidentiality provision is imposed.

Klein Munsinger LLC is a law firm in Portland, Oregon specializing in employment law claims in Oregon and Washington, including sexual harassment.

Oregon law requires employers to provide employees with a certified copy of their personnel records within 45 days of the employee making a request.  The law also defines “personnel records” broadly, as records that are or were used to determine any of the following for the employee making the request:

  • qualification for employment
  • promotion
  • additional compensation
  • employment termination
  • other disciplinary action

Time and pay records must also be included.  Personnel records do not include criminal records or confidential reports from previous employers.

When making a request for personnel records, we often keep it short and to the point, while making sure that the employer is aware that the records expand beyond what is kept in the personnel file to include the records required by Oregon law regardless of where they are stored.  Here is an example:

Dear Company,

I am requesting a copy of my personnel records pursuant to ORS 652.750.  Within 45 days of the date of this request, please send me the contents of my personnel file as well as all records used to determine my qualification for employment, promotion, additional compensation, employment termination or any other disciplinary action, wherever such records may be stored.  My time and pay records should also be included.

You can email me the personnel records at name@domain.com or mail them to the following address:

Name
Address
City, State Zip

Sincerely,
Name

While many employers provide the records at no charge, employers are allowed to charge an employee an amount reasonably required to recover the actual cost of locating and providing the records.  The law also only requires employers to keep personnel records for 60 days from the end of employment, though most employers keep them for considerably longer.

Klein Munsinger LLC is a law firm located in Portland, Oregon which focusses on employment law matters in Oregon and Washington.  You can learn more about the firm here, or you can contact us at connect@kleinmunsinger.com  or 503-410-4390.

The 2017 Oregon legislative session included some significant updates to Oregon employment law:

  • Pay equity.  House Bill 2005, also known as the Equal Pay Act of 2017, prohibits pay disparities based on an employee’s gender, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability or age.  Employees will be able to file lawsuits for pay disparities under the Act starting January 1, 2018.  The Act also prohibits most inquiries into a job applicant’s pay history, and forbids setting compensation levels based on pay history.  This part of the Act takes effect September 9, 2017.
  • Predictive scheduling.  Senate Bill 828, also known as the Fair Work Week Act, applies to large employers (those with more than 500 employees worldwide).  The Act will require employers to provide employees with a written schedule one week in advance until July 1, 2020, when schedules will need to be provided two weeks in advance.  Last-minute schedule changes may result in additional wages.
  • Manufacturing overtime.  The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries had long maintained that certain manufacturing employees were entitled to daily overtime or weekly overtime compensation, whichever was greater.  When the Bureau changed its position in January 2017 to entitle manufacturing employees to both daily and weekly overtime, the legislature enacted House Bill 3458 to clarify that the Bureau’s earlier position was the correct one.

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