HR0130-H – Personnel Files and Release of Information




Effective Date: 03/10/2014

Category: Employment

Last Review: 08/30/2018

Next Review: 08/30/2021

Contact: Terrie Starling

🕿 901.448.5599


Related Policies: FI0120 – Records Management


To provide a procedure for all employees to review official personnel files and to provide guidelines for releasing information from personnel files.


All employees


Under state law personnel records are considered public records and may be inspected, extracted or copied by any citizen of Tennessee during business hours in accordance with reasonable rules of the office having custody of such records. A reasonable charge may be imposed for the purpose of defraying copying costs. See HSC Administrative Policy 2.280 Copying or Inspecting Records. Requests should be submitted to the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Human Resources.

  1. HSC Policy on Employment Records

    Permanent official records on all employees will be maintained centrally and contain all relevant information concerning the employee and her/his employment history with the University. Retention and disposition of these records will be in accordance with Fiscal Policy 05-150-01 University Records and any related HSC policies and procedures.

    The Offices of Academic Affairs and Human Resources have responsibility for maintenance of employee personnel files. These two offices may with appropriate approvals enlist assistance of other offices in housing personnel files for certain categories of employees or for housing certain employee materials. These two offices are responsible for complying with requests from employees and Tennessee residents to inspect personnel records in accordance with the HSC Policy on Copying and Inspecting Records.
  2. Official Employee File

A listing of materials expected to be maintained in the official employee personnel file is appended.

The Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs is the custodian of the official personnel file for executive staff and faculty.

The Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources is the custodian of the official personnel file for all staff employees and post-doctoral research associates.

Human Resources has delegated the responsibility for maintenance of official personnel files for individuals holding certain position titles in the staff exempt and student employee categories to the respective dean’s office. The specific employee titles are:

  • Fellows
  • Graduate Research Assistants
  • Graduate Teaching Assistants
  • Postdoctoral Research Associates
  • Residents
  • Trainees

For residents the official employee file will contain the following items in addition to those on the master list:

  • Benefits and insurance information *
  • Immunizations/physical exams *#
  • Photograph
  • Transcripts *

(*) Indicates items required to be maintained by state statute or University policy

(#) Indicates items required to be maintained separately or redacted from file prior to public disclosure.

Departments are responsible for forwarding any original and other relevant employee personnel materials to the official file. If the department maintains a file on the individuals that work in their respective areas these are classified as convenience files and should include only materials that are duplicates of official records. Convenience copy files have no retention requirements and may be destroyed at any time.

3. Other Employee Records

Certain employee related materials are restricted from being placed in an employee personnel file by federal or other legal statutes or are maintained separately from the official personnel file because of the nature of the records. Such records are maintained as set forth below.

Office of Record

Materials Maintained

Equity & Diversity

ADA accommodations and/or complaints

Disclosure of affected class and/or disability

Human Resources

Complaints under Title VI, VII, IX

Accident and Incident Reports

Insurance Information

Worker’s Compensation claims

Hiring Unit/Department

Certifications required during course of employment to maintain professional status (For nurses, hospital employees, police, etc.)

International Affairs

Immigration and/or naturalization forms and documents


Payroll deduction and withholding information

Records of earnings

Longevity pay certifications

Safety Office

Records related to exposure to toxic and other hazardous materials

University-Wide Retirement Office (Knoxville)

Retirement materials


See: Procedure 130b for the Official Employee Personnel File Content

HR0130-H – Personnel Files and Release of Information
Version: 1 // Effective: 03/10/2014
PDF icon Downloadable PDF

Related Procedures:

Related Policies: