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Home » Clarion » 2021 » December 2021 » Reviewing a personnel file

Reviewing a personnel file

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A PSC contractual right

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Raises, promotions and decisions on tenure can be made in part based on the contents of an employee’s personnel file. The right to review the contents of one’s personal personnel file is enshrined in the PSC-CUNY contract and, in many instances, Research Foundation contracts as well. The PSC-CUNY contract recommends that union members review their personal personnel file annually.

Sometimes reviewing a personnel file isn’t as straightforward as it might sound. College human resource departments may make it difficult to see; previously unseen documents may be in the file, including rebuttals to memos; positive evaluations or complimentary letters may be missing. There have even been instances in which CUNY adjuncts have found their personnel files empty.

When requesting to review your personnel file, the PSC’s contract enforcement team shares the following tips to expedite the process:

  • Request in writing to review the personnel file.
  • Schedule a time to review the file.
  • Copy documents in the file that you have not reviewed before.
  • Report any refusals to review your file to the PSC Contract Administration Department.

Members should also keep in mind that human resource department staff often do not know the answers to specific questions regarding documents in the file, since they only place the documents there.

CUNY administration keeps two personnel files on employees, the personal personnel file that members have a right to access and the administration personnel file that is only available to committees and individuals responsible for appointment, reappointment, promotion or tenure.

Members’ right to review their personal personnel files is protected by PSC contracts, which can be viewed at psc-cuny.org/psc-contracts.

Rights under the PSC-CUNY contract, Article 19

  • The contract suggests that members should review their personnel file annually at the end of the Fall semester.
  • No materials should be placed in an employee’s file without the employee reviewing or submitting comments to the contents.
  • Employees can submit positive documents related to their academic and professional accomplishments.

Rights in the Research Foundation Field Units Contracts, Article 11

  • Requests to review personnel files should not be unreasonably denied.
  • Employees facing any disciplinary action have the right to review file contents.
  • Documents pertaining to performance problems should be provided to and signed by employees.

Rights in the Research Foundation Central Office Contract, Article 12

  • Employees have a right to review their file upon request.
  • No document can be placed in an employee’s file without prior review.
  • All documents pertaining to an employee’s job performance shall be reviewed, initialed and commented on by the employee before being placed in the file.

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