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Massachusetts Employers Must Notify Employees of Negative Additions to Their Personnel Record

A new amendment passed in Massachusetts (Massachusetts Personnel Records Statute, M.G.L. c. 149 §52C) requires employers to notify all employees within 10 days of anything put into the employee’s personnel file that could have a negative impact on employment or could lead to discharge.  The amended statute, which came into effect August 1st, does not provide any guidance on what is considered negative information.  In addition, Massachusetts broadly defines “personnel record” to include basically any documentation that identifies an employee.  Also under the amendment, employees can request a review of their personnel records up to two times per year.  No such limit applies to requests to see the negative information placed in the personnel record.

Employers should update their policies and train supervisors and human resources personnel on this issue.  While an employee cannot sue for violations of this law, the Attorney General can assess penalties ranging from $500-$2,500 per violation.  Until guidelines are issued, employers should err on the side of caution by disclosing any negative reference to an employee.

Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying and remaining up to date with state and federal employment laws.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.965.0560.