Policy Number: E31.0

Policy NAme: ACCESS TO OFFICIAL PROFESSIONAL STAFF FILES

The official files maintained at RIT for each professional staff member are those kept in the RIT Human Resources Office under the general control of the director of human resources and those kept in other offices under the general control of administrative superiors. It is important to both the university and to its professional staff to treat the contents of those files confidentially. Therefore, the following policy has been adopted with regard to access to files maintained in the Human Resources Office and by administrative superiors of professional staff:

1. Files in the Department of Human Resources

a. Files in Human Resources will be available to Human Resources and Payroll staff and administrative superiors for use in performance of their duties on a need-to-know basis as determined by the director of Human Resources; other than directory information, materials in the files are not to be made available to third parties except as required or permitted by law and, if a subpoena is served requiring the production of an employee's personnel file, the staff member will be notified as soon as possible by the Department of Human Resources. The file of a given professional staff member shall be available for examination by that staff member at convenient times established by the director of Human Resources. Solicited materials, including reference materials solicited by the professional staff member or on behalf of that staff member in accordance with established policy (such as letters or evaluations for promotion or tenure offered in confidence, confidential correspondence, and confidential statements either from within RIT or from sources outside RIT) will not be made directly available to the professional staff member.

b. Disclosure of materials in the file to persons other than Department of Human Resources and Payroll staff and administrative superiors of the professional staff member will be logged.

2. Files maintained by the administrative superiors of the professional staff member

a. All items maintained on file by administrative superiors of a professional staff member will be accessible to that staff member except as follows: private, personal notes of the administrative superiors responsible for the files and confidential information from third parties solicited by the professional staff member or on behalf of that staff member in accordance with established policies, including evaluations for tenure and promotion in rank by fellow faculty members.

b. All items maintained on file by administrative superiors are confidential and will not be accessible to third parties except as follows:

Tenure and promotion committees and all line authority officials who, by policy, must participate in decisions about human resource matters (including tenure and promotion) will have access to the annual reviews of professional staff members done by administrative superiors, students, or peers; to confidential information from third parties solicited by the professional staff member or on behalf of that staff member in accordance with established policies; to additional related materials which the professional staff member has placed in the file; and to such other files and materials (other than the private, personal notes of the administrative superior maintaining the file) as they deem necessary for making these decisions.

3. Regarding Both Kinds of Files:

a. Upon receipt of unsolicited material the author/source will be advised that such material will be retained in or withheld from the file only with the knowledge and consent of the subject professional staff member. In the event that the professional staff member wishes to comment about material included in the file, such comment will be added to the file.

b. All materials on file can be released to RIT Grievance Committees or in response to lawful subpoena, in which case the professional staff member will be notified as quickly as possible by the administrative superior. Matters submitted to a file in confidence may not be shared with the aggrieved by a Grievance Committee.

c. An accounting of the date and occasion, summary of content, authors and the original purposes for which any confidential materials were produced for a file will be provided to the professional staff member in writing upon request. The dean or designee, or the chair of the Tenure Committee when appropriate, will meet with the professional staff member and review the summary of the content. The purpose of this review is to permit the professional staff member to respond to any factual error or omission.

Responsible Party:

Effective Date: Approved December 29, 1977

Policy History:
Last revised April 1984
Edited for department title change September 2008
Edited October 2010