Policies and Procedures Manual Section 19
Human Resources is charged with maintaining the official Western Michigan University records for all employees. These records are compiled and maintained in Human Resources. The provost's office also maintains files for faculty members. The faculty contract should be consulted when questions arise concerning faculty personnel files. Individual departments may also maintain employment and performance records for their employees. However, the official employment record for all employees is the document file retained in Human Resources.
Upon receipt of an appointment form indicating an appointment to faculty or staff with benefit eligibility, Human Resources establishes a University document file. Because the appointment form is the official University document for faculty and staff appointments and the instrument by which an individual is placed on the University payroll, it is critical that the information given on the form be complete and accurate.
All official employment records and documents pertaining to employment are placed in each employee's document file maintained by Human Resources.
The standard records required and responsibility for the initiation of the record and/or forwarding of the record to Human Resources are listed below.
Required records and responsibility for initiating and forwarding to Human Resources by hiring department:
- Appointment forms (faculty)
- Employment and transfer applications (signed) and related documents
- Employment contracts
- Faculty credential summary
- Leave of absence forms
- Letters of appointment and acceptance
- Letters of resignation
- Performance management forms
- Probationary report forms
- Recommendation for appointment (faculty)
- Suspension and layoff notices
- Transaction forms (faculty and staff)
- Written commendation
- Written disciplinary action
- Written reprimands
Required records and responsibility for initiating and forwarding to Human Resources by individual employee:
- Diplomas, as appropriate
- Training certificates, as appropriate
- Written commendations, as appropriate
Required records and responsibility for initiating and forwarding to document file by Human Resources:
- Appointment forms (staff)
- Benefits statements
- Dependent eligibility forms
- Employee Handbook receipt
- Family and medical leave of absence forms and documents
- Insurance enrollment and change forms
- Leave of absence forms and documents
- Long-term disability claims
- Orientation notice and checklist
- Pre-employment health questionnaire and reports
- Retirement and tax-deferred savings enrollment forms and related documents
- Salary/pay notices
Required records and responsibility for initiating and forwarding to Human Resources by Payroll:
- Wage assignments
- Tax levies
No one other than the Human Resources staff may physically add a document to any employee's official employment document file.
University employees who wish to have certain documents added to their official employment document file should submit the documents to Human Resources. Human Resources will determine if it is appropriate to add the documents to the respective file.
No original material on file may be removed or taken out of an employment document file by anyone other than the Manager of Human Resources Information Services.
A request to remove documents in a file which have no probable future usefulness may be directed to the Manager of Human Resources Information Services, who will investigate, seek any appropriate approval, and make a determination.
Employees who object to the content of document in their own official employment document file may seek redress by through a formal grievance or by submitting a written statement of objection to the Manager of Human Resources Information Services, who will investigate, seek any appropriate approval, and make a determination.
- Executive officers and Human Resources staff. Executive officers and Human Resources staff have access to employee University document files. The official personnel file will be separated from the University document file when the former is to be reviewed by an individual who does not have access to the entire file.
- Supervisors from within the University. Supervisors from within the University may:
- Review and obtain copies of documents from only the official personnel file of employees they supervise.
- Review documents from only the official personnel file of employees they are considering for transfer or promotion into their units.
- Current and former University employees. All current and former University employees have access to their own University document file in Human Resources.
- An employee, upon written or oral request, has the right to examine his/her official document file during normal business hours in the presence of a representative of the employee's bargaining agent or association and a member of the Human Resources professional staff.
- An employee shall have the right to obtain copies of all materials in his/her document file at his/her expense. The fee shall be limited to the cost of reproduction and mailing of the materials requested.
Personnel files are retained by Human Resources permanently.
Individual departments should retain appropriate files and records for the duration of employment and for three years after an individual has left University employment. Upon the expiration of three years past employment, unless there is any pending legal action, departmental records should be shredded.
See Direct Compensation: Hours Worked and Pay. Polices and Procedures Manual Section 5 for information about departmental time reports.
- General. Except as described otherwise in this section, employees receiving any subpoena, document, or other request to appear, respond, answer questions, or provide information to any court, administrative agency or department, or other legal authority, in connection with their employment relationship with, or which pertains to, Western Michigan University must immediately notify and deliver the subpoena, document, or request to the Office of the Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel for legal review and direction before responding or providing information.
If damages, liability, or costs to the University result from an employee's failure to adhere to these procedures, the employee will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination from employment. This section does not apply to plaintiffs and petitioners in proceedings.
Subpoenas and other legal pleadings for medical records and transcripts or other academic records are addressed below.
If Human Resources receives a subpoena, it will be forwarded to the Office of the Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel for legal review and instructions.
- Medical records. If Sindecuse Health Center receives a subpoena and patient authorization for release of medical records, a copy of the subpoena and patient authorization, copies of the medical records, and a bill are to be forwarded to the Office of the Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel for legal review and, if approved, response to the requestor. The original subpoena, patient authorization, and medical records remain at Sindecuse Health Center. Questions about subpoenas should be reviewed with the Office of the Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel prior to processing.
- Transcripts and other academic records. If an employee receives a subpoena or other legal pleading on behalf of the University regarding transcripts or other academic record information, the subpoena or legal pleading should be immediately delivered to the Registrar's Office for review and response.
Requests originating from outside of the University for information on current or former (non-student) employees should be referred to Human Resources. Requests regarding student employees should be forwarded to Career and Student Employment Services.
Position title, employment dates, and employment status are released on employees when requested by institutions/individuals with a bona fide need to know, e.g., banks, insurance companies, credit bureaus.
Release of other information from an individual's University document file to persons other than those authorized will not be made without the employee's written request and/or legal action. The University reserves the right to control the release of its official records, including information it has retained in personnel files, except under compelling legal action.