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´╗┐Labor Employment Law and What It Can Mean for You

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Labor employment law covers a wide range of subjects and topics. In fact, it is so vast there are usually an endless number of questions to be asked about labor employment law by people needing to know where they stand within the system.

What about offensive comments at work? Where does someone stand under labor employment law in this situation, are they protected by the First Amendment or not? Unfortunately, the answer isn't always that clear and it may be interpreted on a case-by-case basis by the courts. The bottom line is the United States Supreme Court will have to eventually decide how to balance an employee's right to freedom of expression under the First Amendment against another employee's right to be free from harassment at work. That's tough labor employment law in the making.

Another aspect of labor employment law is the infamous employee personnel file. It's yours, but can you actually see it? It usually has your job application, resume, reference letters, salary history, vacation and attendance records, performance appraisals, test results, disciplinary notices and commendations. It could also have tax documents, but it should not contain medical information.

Can you read your file? Yes, no and maybe. It depends on the state you live in. Even though the file contains your information, the employer owns it and they can decide if you can look at it, and under what conditions. Most states allow the company to prevent you from removing the file, even for copying. So if you want to see your personnel file, check the labor employment law in your state to see if you can and under what circumstances.

Speaking of personnel files, the definition of personnel files is really broad right across the board. However, ANY document that pertains to your employment is a personnel record, even if it isn't kept in your personnel file. So what can you see? Usually you can read memos your supervisor has written about your performance (even if those documents are in a separate file). You might not be able to see records relating to management planning, criminal investigations or civil proceedings. However, if you happen to be in that kind of a bind, you may not even be employed there, so seeing your records might be a moot point.

What if the information in your file is not accurate? Well you can't remove it, so you can only take steps to correct it. How? Write a letter to the human resources manager outlining the errors. Ask to have your letter put in your file. If your employer refuses, keep your own records. As you can see, labor employment law is a mixed bag at best, and a mare's nest at worst. The best you can hope to do is make sure you are on the right side of the labor employment law in your state.


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