University Archives

Records Manual: Personnel Files

Records Retention For Public Colleges and Universities in Ohio: A Manual, November 2000 published by the Inter University Council of Ohio, provides a list of possible items contained in a personnel file for Administrative, Classified and Faculty employees, all of which have a retention period of active + 6 years. This retention period applies to the official personnel file that at Bowling Green State University is maintained in the office of Human Resources for Administrative and Classified Staff and the office of the Provost for Faculty. Personnel files held in the department/office and division in which the individual is employed are not considered to be the official personnel files, but rather copies maintained to facilitate administration of the department/office and division. Only copies of what is in the official personnel file should be in the department/office file because while it is not the official file, it is functioning as a personnel file and is open to discovery.

IUC Definitions

Personnel Files - Classified Staff:
Employment record maintained for full-time and part-time classified employees. Files may contain applications, copies of driver's license, leave of absence requests, letters of commendation and reprimand, transfer requests, leave forms, evaluations, reclassifications, certifications, promotions, step increases, longevity, PERS forms, employee's inspection of personnel file form, personnel card, etc.

Personnel Files - Contract (Administrative) Staff:
Employment record maintained for full-time and part-time university contract employees. Files can contain position descriptions, applications, letters of appointment or change, personnel data, notice of salary rate, annual contracts, performance evaluations, PERS forms, previous state service forms, letters of commendation or reprimand, publications, evidence of continuing education, transfers, leave of absence requests, payroll forms, vacation and sick leave reports, resignations, termination notices.

Personnel Files - Faculty:
Employment record maintained for full and part-time and adjunct faculty. Official faculty personnel file items are listed online.

CONFIDENTIALITY

Personnel Files are not confidential records and under the Ohio Public Records Laws are open to the public, with a few exceptions, most notably medical records, social security numbers, and peace officer, fire fighter or EMT's residential and familial information. In order to facilitate compliance with Public Records Laws, medical records should be maintained in a separate folder from the personnel file. When providing personnel information as a result of a public records request the social security number must be redacted from any documents before they are disclosed. Forms, correspondence, and reports generated during a disciplinary, grievance, harassment or discriminatory proceeding are public record. [See Ohio Revised Code 1347.01 (8) take reasonable precaution to protect personal information from unauthorized modification, destruction, use or disclosure]

Confidential Records should be stored separately from personnel file and may include:

  • Physical examination reports
  • Disability establishment
  • Disabilities accommodation requests
  • Psychiatric records
  • Psychological records
  • Maternity Leave/FMLA/personal/medical leave documents
  • Medical Records (medical history, diagnosis, prognosis, or medical condition)
  • Workers compensation claim documents
  • Social security numbers (must be redacted from all public documents prior to disclosure)
  • Attorney-client communications to or from university attorneys concerning university legal matters
  • Trade secrets: scientific, technical business and other information that derives independent economic value from, which is maintained under, confidential circumstances. Faculty research, until such time as it is patented, copyrighted or otherwise voluntarily made public, may be classified as a confidential trade secret