Forensic Update

Reflections on information management within the legal and regulatory arena

New Requirement for Massachussetts Personnel Records…

Posted by Johnny Lee on December 1, 2010

File FolderOn August 5, 2010, the Governor of Massachusetts signed into law an amendment to the Massachusetts personnel records statute (q.v., Chapter 149, §52C).  This amendment creates a duty to employers to notify an employee whenever his or her personnel record is updated with anything that can “negatively affect the employee’s qualification for employment, promotion, transfer, or additional compensation or the possibility that the employee will be subject to disciplinary action.”

So…in addition to the affirmative duties that employers have to “paper” their employees’ activities to guard against future litigation and investigation risk, there is now a duty to disclose anything that may hinder that employee’s career track down the road.  Mercifully, there is no private cause of action under the revised statute (which would enable an employee to sue for failing to provide notice of such updates).  However, the state Attorney General can impose fines for such failures, and employers need to heed this “right to audit” that now extends to a very powerful state investigative body.

Definitely food for thought…coupled with social media considerations, traditional HR constraints, and substantial records retention issues, this new burden is a non-trivial expansion of duties for Massachusetts-based employers.  It appears that compliance management just got a lot trickier for the labor and employment bar in that state.

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