616.000 - Personnel Records/Information Release
The College shall be responsible for maintaining personnel files for its employees and for establishing appropriate regulations related to employee access and rights of employers and employees. By authority of the Board of Trustees, administration of the personnel files shall be the responsibility of the president or designee. The College will ensure the security and appropriate confidentiality of all personnel files.
The following provisions pertain to the personnel files of all College employees unless otherwise prescribed in collective bargaining agreements:
- The employee may access his/her personnel file upon request to the associate vice
president of human resources or designee.
- Employees may not remove materials from their personnel file. Materials may be added
to or removed from the employee's file by the president or designee; a copy or notice
of additions or removal of derogatory material will be sent to the employee. The employee
will be permitted to add a statement rebutting or correcting information contained
in his/her personnel file within 30 days after he/she becomes aware that the information
has been placed in the file.
- Records eligible for disposal according to state records retention procedures will
be purged and shredded without prior notification to the employee.
- In the event of a disagreement regarding an addition to his/her personnel file, the
employee will, upon request, be provided with an opportunity for an informal hearing
with the appropriate Executive Cabinet member. The Executive Cabinet member will make
a ruling regarding the acceptance or rejection of the addition to or removal from
the personnel file.
- The associate vice president of human resources is responsible for all personnel files
and ensuring limitation of access to the personnel file by unauthorized persons.
- Records of former employees of the College are placed in an inactive file.
Inquiries from financial institutions regarding verification of current employment should be referred to Payroll.
Providing Reference Information Regarding Current or Former College Employees to Prospective Employers
When a prospective employer (including another College employing official) calls to check a reference, the individual giving the reference is not to say anything specific until the employer provides a copy of a release signed by the current or former College employee who is applying to the new employer. Only information related to job duties and performance should be provided. The individual giving the reference is not to editorialize and offer personal insights which would compromise the privacy of the employee. If the reference is in writing, the individual giving the reference is to retain a copy of the completed form for one year, or forward it to Human Resources for retention.
It is also acceptable to provide employees with a general letter of reference when they leave the College. Such a letter should deal with job-related skills, knowledge, and abilities, and provide an overall assessment of aspects of performance such as attendance. Human Resources can assist supervisors with writing letters of reference.
Supervisors are encouraged to contact Human Resources for advice prior to giving reference
information, particularly in cases where the information may be potentially derogatory. When
the current or former employee has signed a release, and when accurate, factual, quantitative,
and verifiable reference information is given by an employee's supervisor, there should
be little concern about liability.
Questions about references may be directed to Human Resources.
The following are the College’s policies on the release of information on College employees:
- Released upon request (verbal or written):
Information on this list is readily available to the public through a variety of published sources, such as the College catalog and class schedule.
Tenure, probationary, adjunct, temporary
Classified, administrator, student
Other job title
d. Campus phone extension
e. Degrees, etc., as published in College catalog
f. Courses taught (from class schedule)
g. Date hired
h. Photograph(s) which employee has given permission to take, or are taken at a newsworthy event (except for commercial purposes)
- Released upon written public records request to College public records officer:
Information appears on this list (rather than No. 1.) because it is more detailed and personal. The College will attempt to notify employees prior to disclosing information from personnel files; however, it is the employee’s responsibility to seek injunctive relief or to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent disclosure of information which the College deems it is obligated to release. In keeping with the intent of public records law, exempt and private information may be redacted in order to permit disclosure of documents.
a. Salary, salary history
b. Employment history - employees only, not applicants, including material which is of legitimate concern to the public, such as specific, substantiated acts of misconduct, and documents pertaining to final disciplinary decisions
- Not released (exempt):
Information on this list is exempt pursuant to specific statutory exemptions to public records requests (RCW 42.17.310) and other statutes and regulations (e.g., Federal Privacy Act, FERPA, anti-discrimination laws).
a. Social security number
b. Information which constitutes Washington State Human Rights Commission unfair pre-employment inquiry: disability, marital status/dependents, medical information, felony conviction
c. Residence address or telephone number (exempted under RCW 42.17)
d. Work-study employment records
e. Information specifically protected by court order
Confidential records of discrimination/harassment investigations
- Release decided on case-by-case basis upon receipt of a written public records request
to the College’s public records officer:
Information under this category is subject to individual and circumstantial determinations, and may be protected from disclosure if necessary to prevent an unreasonable invasion of personal privacy interests.
a. Employee’s résumé
b. ClarkCollege application form
c. Age/date of birth, race, sex
d. Performance evaluations
e. Tenure review committee notes, evaluations
f. Letters of warning, reprimand, etc.
g. Insurance coverage, beneficiaries
h. Records of pending investigations
i. Records not available under pre-trial discovery rules in pending litigation