Getting your personnel records in Indiana can be challenging whether you are simply trying to access them out of curiosity or for legal matters. In Indiana your employer type will determine the approach you must take to get your personnel records. For instance, if you work in the public sector, you have some rights that enable you to access your personnel records without much problem. However, if you work in the private sector, accessing your personnel records can become challenging because according to Indiana's law, private companies are not required to release their personnel records.
Private Sector Workers
Research your employer's policy on releasing personnel records. You will be able to find this information by accessing your employer's "employee manual" or by asking other employees. If your employer has a policy that gives you the ability to access your personnel records, simply ask your supervisor, or the Human Resources department for personnel records.
Approach your current or former employer and ask if you could access your personnel records. You will need to do this if the company's policy doesn't give you the right to access your personnel records. Private companies in Indiana are not obligated to give you your personnel records; therefore, under the right circumstances and with a good reason, asking your employer for your personnel records is the best approach. There is a chance that your employer will decline your request due to unforeseen legal liabilities it may face by releasing such records. Keep in mind that employees ask for personnel records often before filing a lawsuit against the employer.
Hire an attorney to request the personnel records on your behalf. Occasionally private companies will release your personnel records if they see a lawsuit in the works. If the company refuses to release your personnel records after your attorney requests them, file a lawsuit against your employer. Keep in mind that in Indiana a company will only be obligated to release your personnel records if they are relevant to your lawsuit. If your employer still refuses to release your personnel records, you will need to get a court order from the presiding judge. This will leave the company with no other choice but to let you get your personnel records.
Public Sector Workers
Ask for your personnel records in writing. You can also ask for your personnel records in person, or by phone; however, if you do it in writing you will have proof of your request. You can access a personnel file request sample letter in the Resources section.
Request your personnel records from your supervisors or HR department. In Indiana if you work in the public sector (state, municipality, county, or any political entity or subdivision), you have the right to request your personnel records during regular business hours and you can also have copies of them. However, you may have to pay for the copies.
Contact the Indiana Public Access Counselor and file a complaint if you are denied access to your personnel records (see Resources). You must file this complaint within 30 days of when you where first denied access to your personnel records. Also, if you have a union, contact your union representative because you may have more rights if your personnel records rights are violated.
Tips & Warnings
- If you are a third party who wants to access someone's personnel records for a legal matter such as a lawsuit, the same steps apply. For instance, if the person of interest works in the private sector, you may ask the employer for the personnel records; however, you will most likely have to provide a court order to force the employer to release personnel records. If the person of interest works in the public sector, the Indiana access to public records law (Sec. 5-14-3-4, as amended by S. 514, L. 1999, effective July 1, 1999) gives you the right to access the personnel records as long as you are the employee or the employee's representative. If you are not the employee's representative, you will need to file a lawsuit to demonstrate that the personnel records are needed for legal matters.
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