Private sector employees are not entitled to a copy of their personnel file in Virginia


There are many reasons why you may want a copy of your personnel file. Maybe you have a pending Social Security disability claim and you want copies of your attendance records to show that your disability impacted your work performance. Maybe you are working light duty while on Virginia workers compensation and your attorney wants to see a copy of your job description or accident report. Maybe your supervisor is starting to discriminate against you and you want to protect yourself. Or maybe you just like having copies of everything.


Whatever the reason, this article explains whether you are entitled to a copy of your personnel files. If you have a question about your employment situation, call, text, or email Richmond employment lawyer Corey Pollard for a free consultation.


Are you a private sector employee?


In Virginia private sector employees are not entitled to a copy of their personnel files. A personnel file is considered an official company record that is the employer’s property. So even though it has your name on it, the personnel file belongs to the employer.


Unlike some other states Virginia does not have a statute that requires private sector employers to give you access to the information in your personnel file. So if you ask to see it, your employer can refuse.


That being said most employers will give you access to your personnel file. Refusing your request to see the file can cause distrust and suspicion. It can also allow you to claim that you never saw a poor performance review if that becomes an issue in a wrongful termination or workers compensation claim.


For these reasons many employers will allow you to review your personnel file. But don’t be surprised if your boss or human resources stays with you while you review the file. Employers do not like to leave an employee alone with the file for fear that some documents may go missing, especially if you’ve signed a non-compete contract or have access to trade secrets.


If you have a pending workers compensation or personal injury claim, don’t worry. Your attorney can obtain a copy of your personnel file in discovery. I ask for a copy of the claimant’s entire personnel file in my standard request for production of documents.


Are you a public sector employee?


In Virginia government employees have more rights than their private sector counterparts. Under Virginia Code section 2.2-3705.1 a public sector employee has a right to review his or her personnel file because these documents are excluded from FOIA rules. There may, however, be some exceptions to the documents that you can see. For example personnel records that contain information concerning other individuals may be off limits.


Do you think your employer is doing something wrong? Call, text, or email Corey Pollard today to discuss your legal rights.