Do you have a right to inspect your personnel file after you have been fired?

You're Fired!

No. You don’t. At least you don’t if there is nothing in your individual employment contract which gives you that right. There is a Pennsylvania statute which guarantees employees the right to inspect their personnel files but the statute only applies to current employees.  You are not a current employee if you have been fired. According to the Inspection of Employment Records Law (also known as  “the Personnel Files Act”), 43 P.S. §§ 1321-24, “An employer shall, at reasonable times, upon request of an employee, permit that employee or an agent designated by the employee to inspect his or her own personnel files used to determine his or her own qualifications for employment, promotion, additional compensation, termination or disciplinary action ….” In the case of Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals v. Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, 30 EAP 2016 (PA 2017), it was argued that since the law provides for inspection of personnel files to determine qualifications for termination it must provide for inspection by former employees whose employment had been terminated. However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that another section of the statute which defined employees, as follows, controlled: “Any person currently employed, laid off with reemployment rights or on leave of absence. The term ’employee’ shall not include applicants for employment or any other person. ” The court explained that the reference to access to qualifications for termination was not superfluous because in some instances current employees are given advance warning that they will be terminated.