State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_131E > GS_131E-257_2

§ 131E‑257.2.  Privacyof employee personnel records.

(a)        Notwithstanding theprovisions of G.S. 132‑6 or any other general law or local act concerningaccess to public records, personnel files of employees and applicants foremployment maintained by a public hospital are subject to inspection and may bedisclosed only as provided by this section. For purposes of this section, anemployee's personnel file consists of any information in any form gathered bythe public hospital with respect to an employee and, by way of illustration butnot limitation, relating to the employee's application, selection ornonselection, performance, promotions, demotions, transfers, suspensions andother disciplinary actions, evaluation forms, employment contracts, leave, salary,and termination of employment. As used in this section, "employee"includes both current and former employees of a public hospital.

(b)        The followinginformation with respect to each public hospital employee is a matter of publicrecord:

(1)        Name.

(2)        Age.

(3)        Date of originalemployment.

(4)        Current positiontitle.

(5)        Date of the mostrecent promotion, demotion, transfer, suspension, separation or other change inposition classification.

(6)        The office to whichthe employee is currently assigned.

In addition, the followinginformation with respect to each licensed medical provider employed by orhaving privileges to practice in a public hospital shall be a matter of publicrecord: educational history and qualifications, date and jurisdiction ororiginal and current licensure; and information relating to medical boardcertifications or other qualifications of medical specialists.

(b1)      In addition, thefollowing information for the last completed fiscal year, beginning with thefiscal year ending in 2008, of a public hospital with respect to each CoveredOfficer and the five key employees (who are not Covered Officers) with thehighest annual compensation of a public hospital is a matter of public record:

(1)        Base salary.

(2)        Bonus compensation.

(3)        Plan‑basedincentive compensation.

(4)        Dollar value of allother compensation, which includes any perquisites and other personal benefits.

(b2)      As used in thissection:

(1)        "CoveredOfficer" means each of the following:

a.         All individualsserving as the public hospital's chief executive officer or acting in a similarcapacity at any time during the last completed fiscal year, regardless ofcompensation level.

b.         The publichospital's four most highly compensated executive officers, determined by theaggregate amount reportable under subdivisions (1) through (4) of subsection(b1) of this section, other than the chief executive officer, who were servingas executive officers at the end of the last completed fiscal year.

c.         Any individual forwhom disclosure would have been provided pursuant to sub‑subdivision b.of this subsection but for the fact that the individual's service as anexecutive officer of the public hospital terminated during the last completedfiscal year.

(2)        "Executiveofficer" means each employee of the public hospital specifically appointedby the governing board of the public hospital to serve as an officer.

(3)        "Keyemployee" means any person having responsibilities, powers, or influencesimilar to those of an officer. The term includes the chief management andadministrative officials of a public hospital.

(b3)      The governing boardof a public hospital shall determine in what form and by whom this informationwill be maintained. Any person may have access to this information for thepurpose of inspection, examination, and copying, during regular business hours,subject only to such rules and regulations for the safekeeping of publicrecords as the governing board of the public hospital may have adopted. Anyperson denied access to this information may apply to the appropriate divisionof the General Court of Justice for an order compelling disclosure, and thecourt shall have jurisdiction to issue such orders.

(c)        All informationcontained in a public hospital employee's personnel file, other than theinformation made public by subsection (b) of this section, is confidential andshall be open to inspection only in the following instances:

(1)        The employee or theemployee's duly authorized agent may examine all portions of the employee'spersonnel file, except letters of reference solicited prior to employment.

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

(3)        A public hospitalemployee 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 such portion of an employee'spersonnel file as may be ordered by the court.

(5)        An official of anagency of the State or federal government, or any political subdivision of theState, may inspect any portion of a personnel file when the inspection isdeemed by the person having custody of the file to be inspected to be necessaryand essential to the pursuance of a proper function of the inspecting agency,but no information shall be divulged for the purpose of assisting in criminalprosecution of the employee, or for the purpose of assisting in aninvestigation of the employee's tax liability. However, the official havingcustody of the records may release the name, address, and telephone number froma personnel file for the purpose of 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.

(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 public hospital's 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 actions 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 suchmaterials are used for any official personnel decision, then the employee orhis duly authorized agent shall have a right to inspect such materials.

(e)        The governing boardof a public hospital may permit access, subject to limitations they may impose,to selected personnel files by a professional representative of a training,research, or academic institution if that representative certifies that he orshe will not release information identifying the employees whose files areopened and that the information will be used solely for statistical, research,or teaching purposes. This certification shall be retained by the publichospital as long as each personnel file so examined is retained.

(f)         The governingboard of a public hospital that maintains personnel files containinginformation other than the information mentioned in subsection (b) of thissection shall establish procedures whereby an employee who objects to materialin his or her file on grounds that it is inaccurate or misleading may seek tohave the material removed from the file or may place in the file a statementrelating to the material.

(g)        A public hospitaldirector, trustee, officer, or employee who knowingly, willfully, and withmalice permits any person to have access to information contained in apersonnel file, except as is permitted by this section, is guilty of a Class 3misdemeanor; however, conviction under this subsection shall be punishable onlyby a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00).

(h)        Any person notspecifically authorized by this section to have access to a personnel filedesignated as confidential, who shall knowingly and willfully examine in itsofficial filing place, or remove, or copy any portion of a confidentialpersonnel file shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor; however, convictionunder this subsection shall be punishable, in the discretion of the court, by afine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00). (1997‑517, s. 2; 2007‑508,s. 5.5.)