Massachusetts employers cannot retaliate against employees who exercise their rights under Massachusetts’ personnel record law (M.G.L. c. 149, § 52C).
Recently, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held in Meehan v. Medical Information Technology, Inc., that an employer cannot retaliate against an employee who exercises their right to file a rebuttal to material in their personnel record.
What Is Massachusetts Personnel Record Law?
According to the Massachusetts’ Personnel Record Law, certain employers must, among other things:
- Keep certain information in an employee’s personnel record. This includes, among other things:
- job title/description
- rate of pay
- employee performance evaluations
- information related to employee discipline
- Keep personnel records for up to three (3) years after the employees’ employment ends.
- Notify you within 10 days of placing information into your personnel file that may be used to negatively impact your employment.
- Provide an employee a copy of their personnel records within 5 days of a request.
- An employee may submit a rebuttal to any material in their personnel record.
Employers Cannot Retaliate Against Employees Who File A Rebuttal
Massachusetts now recognizes that it is unlawful for an employer to fire an employee or take other adverse action if the employee exercises their right to submit a rebuttal to their personnel record.
How Do I Request My Personnel Record?
Don’t worry; you don’t need to use fancy speech to request a copy of your personnel file. Generally, it is best to submit a written request so that there is a paper trail if necessary.
The Not So Fine Print:
We see patterns in our practice, like the ones described above. However, every case has its own unique facts. Before you take any action, you should contact an employment lawyer and get advice on your own situation.
We can’t provide legal advice here and this isn’t intended as legal advice. It is best, if possible, to establish a relationship with an attorney before a workplace issue turns into a crisis. However, employees who have received a verbal or written warning or performance improvement plan should contact counsel now. Ditto for employees who are seeing their doctor for workplace-related stress or anxiety.