Keeping Personnel Records Private

Improperly releasing personnel information can result in liability. The right to privacy guaranteed by the California Constitution protects employee personnel files from improper disclosure to third parties.1 An employee can waive the privacy of his/her own personnel records by authorizing the release of personnel information to a third party, such as his/her union.2 When a former employee sues you for wrongful discharge, failure to promote, a disciplinary action or other employment decision, the court generally holds that the employee has placed his/her employment history at issue, thereby waiving the right to privacy for his/her personnel records for purposes of the lawsuit.

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