Lawyers - Quick legal question (not seeking advice)

Quick legal question for you guys:

I’ve got a friend who’s in a slight dispute with her employer as to access to her employment records. She just left the job on Friday, but I told her to physically look at her record to make sure nobody’s tampered with it. She went to Human Resources, and they gave her a line that “Since you don’t work here anymore, you cannot have access to your record.”

This strikes me as complete bullshit. It’s her proprietary information in that folder, and she should still have access to it within a reasonable amount of time after leaving: especially seeing as how that information could follow her along her career (she’s an OTR).

Anyway, I’m looking for some direction in the North Dakota Century Code as to where Employer/Employee requirements are located. I’m not a lawyer, but I play one on TV, and I want to give her enough ammo to show up on a real counselor’s doorstep prepared.

Anybody ever deal with this kinda stuff? Can you point me in the right direction? I’ve looked through a few sections, but don’t know what buzzwords to look for.

Thanks in advance. . .

I’m not a doctor either, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

IANAL but my understanding is that she has the right to copies of any material placed in her file with the possible exception of material related to such things as sexual harassment investigations. A decent employer will provide an exiting employee with a copy of that information upon the employee’s leaving the company. She should check with the state department of labor (or whatever it may be called in ND).

I’d send a written request by certified, return receipt requested mail, to the HR Director, and keep a copy, of course. Your friend’s atty. may want to see this document with proof of receipt by the HR.

This is something that varies from state to state. In one jurisdiction where I practice, employees have a right to see their file; in another, they don’t.

You might try poking around the web site of the North Dakota DOL.

Great. But what am I looking for?

On the upbeat, I did find the DOL website, and it gave me a toll free number to call. I called and left a message explaining just what I did, and hopefully they can let me know a local DOL office here in town.

Maybe I should be a lawyer. . .

Well, the NYDOL web site has (used to have?) a FAQ list; one of the questions was whether an employee can view his or her personnel file.

You might also try asking a labor lawyer. Many lawyers will speak to you briefly for free, especially if they think the discussion might lead to a fee-generating case.

Actually, just two days ago I got a call back from the North Dakota DOL: Employment records are the property of the employer. The former employer “needs a court order” to open them or go back into them . . .

It’s not a big thing, but my friend is worried about what her supervisors - who were within days of leaving their jobs for dubious reasons anyway - were throwing into the file without her knowledge before the file was closed.

I had my friend do a letter stating that no formal paperwork was done at the time of her resignation, that her written resignation would preceed any formal paperwork done by anyone, and any following paperwork would be done without her knowledge or consent. I also had her deliver it in person, the moment Human Resources opened up, before her (now former) supervisor had a chance to get down to HR.

Unfortunately, case closed (to a point). However, I feel learned.

Learned: as in “edumicated”.