State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_122C > GS_122C-158

§ 122C‑158.  Privacy ofpersonnel records.

(a)        Notwithstanding theprovisions of G.S. 132‑6 or any other State statute concerning access topublic records, personnel files of employees or applicants for employmentmaintained by an area authority are subject to inspection and may be disclosedonly as provided by this section. For purposes of this section, an employee'spersonnel file consists of any information in any form gathered by the areaauthority with respect to that employee, including his application, selectionor nonselection, performance, promotions, demotions, transfers, suspensions andother disciplinary actions, evaluation forms, leave, salary, and termination ofemployment. As used in this section, "employee" includes formeremployees of the area authority.

(b)        The followinginformation with respect to each employee is a matter of public record: name;age; date of original employment or appointment to the area authority; theterms of any contract by which the employee is employed whether written ororal, past and current, to the extent that the agency has the written contractor a record of the oral contract in its possession; current position title;current salary; date and amount of most recent increase or decrease in salary;date of the most recent promotion, demotion, transfer, suspension, separation,or other change in position classification; and the office to which theemployee is currently assigned. For the purposes of this subsection, the term"salary" includes pay, benefits, incentives, bonuses, and deferredand all other forms of compensation paid by the employing entity. The areaauthority shall determine in what form and by whom this information will bemaintained. Any person may have access to this information for the purpose ofinspection, examination, and copying during regular business hours, subjectonly to rules for the safekeeping of public records as the area authority mayhave adopted. Any person denied access to this information may apply to theappropriate division of the General Court of Justice for an order compellingdisclosure, and the court shall have jurisdiction to issue these orders.

(c)        All informationcontained in an employee's personnel file, other than the information madepublic by subsection (b) of this section, is confidential and is open toinspection only in the following instances:

(1)        The employee or anauthorized agent may examine portions of his personnel file except (i) lettersof reference solicited before employment, and (ii) information concerning a medicaldisability, mental or physical, that a prudent physician would not divulge to apatient.

(2)        A licensed physiciandesignated in writing by the employee may examine the employee's medicalrecord.

(3)        An area authorityemployee having supervisory authority over the employee may examine allmaterial in the employee's personnel file.

(4)        By order of a courtof competent jurisdiction, any person may examine the part of an employee'spersonnel file that is ordered by the court.

(5)        An official of anagency of the State or federal government, or any political subdivision of theState, may inspect any part of a personnel file pursuant to G.S. 122C‑25(b)or G.S. 122C‑192(a) or when the inspection is considered by the officialhaving custody of the records to be inspected to be necessary and essential tothe pursuance of a proper function of the inspecting agency. No information maybe divulged for the purpose of assisting in a criminal prosecution of theemployee or for the purpose of assisting in an investigation of the employee'stax liability. However, the official having custody of the records may releasethe name, address, and telephone number from a personnel file for the purposeof assisting in a criminal investigation.

(6)        An employee may signa written release, to be placed with the employee's personnel file, thatpermits the person with custody of the file to provide, either in person, bytelephone or by mail, information specified in the release to prospectiveemployers, educational institutions, or other persons specified in the release.

(7)        The area authoritymay tell any person of the employment or nonemployment, promotion, demotion,suspension, or other disciplinary action, reinstatement, transfer, ortermination of an employee and the reasons for that personnel action. Beforereleasing the information, the area authority shall determine in writing thatthe release is essential to maintaining public confidence in the administrationof services or to maintaining the level and quality of services. This writtendetermination shall be retained as a record for public inspection and shallbecome part of the employee's personnel file.

(d)        Even if consideredpart of an employee's personnel file, the following information need not bedisclosed to an employee nor to any other person:

(1)        Testing orexamination material used solely to determine individual qualifications forappointment, employment, or promotion in the area authority service, whendisclosure would compromise the objectivity or the fairness of the testing orexamination process.

(2)        Investigativereports or memoranda and other information concerning the investigation ofpossible criminal action of an employee, until the investigation is completedand no criminal action taken, or until the criminal action is concluded.

(3)        Information thatmight identify an undercover law‑enforcement officer or a law‑enforcementinformer.

(4)        Notes, preliminarydrafts, and internal communications concerning an employee. In the event thesematerials are used for any official personnel decision, then the employee or anauthorized agent has a right to inspect these materials.

(e)        The area authoritymay permit access, subject to limitations it may impose, to selected personnelfiles by a professional representative of a training, research, or academicinstitution if that representative certifies that he will not releaseinformation identifying the employees whose files are opened and that theinformation will be used solely for statistical, research, or teachingpurposes. This certification shall be retained by the area authority as long aseach personnel file so examined is retained.

(f)         The area authoritythat maintains personnel files containing information other than theinformation mentioned in subsection (b) of this section shall establishprocedures whereby an employee who objects to material in the employee's fileon grounds that it is inaccurate or misleading may seek to have the materialremoved from the file or may place in the file a statement relating to the material.

(g)        Permitting access,other than that authorized by this section, to a personnel file of an employeeof an area authority is a Class 3 misdemeanor and is punishable only by a fine,not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00).

(h)        Anyone who, knowingthat he is not authorized to do so, examines, removes, or copies information ina personnel file of an employee of an area authority is guilty of a Class 3misdemeanor and is punishable only by a fine, not to exceed five hundreddollars ($500.00). (1983,c. 281; 1985, c. 589, s. 2; 1993, c. 539, ss. 924, 925; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24,s. 14(c); 2007‑508, s. 3.)