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Recordkeeping requirements

In South Carolina, an employer currently does not have a legal obligation to permit an employee to examine his or her employment records. As stated in the sample policy, however, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) does entitle employees who are exposed to toxic substances or harmful physical agents access to certain medical and related records. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended, and the South Carolina Code mandate that an employee’s medical records are not only confidential, but that they must be kept completely separate from the rest of the employee’s personnel file.

Many employers, in an attempt to maintain positive employee relations, choose to allow employees to inspect all their records in a reasonable manner. There is a second benefit to a policy that grants an employee access to his or her personnel records. An employer is conditionally immune from liability with respect to written reference requests from prospective employers if it gives the employee access to his or her employment files.

The sample policy provides a good example of a means to allow employees such access to their employment files. The sample policy does not include an employee recourse provision that...

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