The State Attorney General has rendered the opinion that the personnel records law for county employees pertains to community colleges (G.S. 153A-98).
Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 132-6 or any other general law or local act concerning access to public records, personnel files maintained by a county (including the College) are subject to inspection and may be disclosed only as provided by this section.
A. Personnel Records Maintenance Personnel records, which are necessary for the proper administration of the personnel system, are maintained in the Human Resources Office. The College’s personnel records will include only information that is necessary and relevant for meeting legitimate personnel administration needs.
B. Public Information The following information on each College employee is public information:
- Date of original employment or appointment to College services.
- Current position title.
- Current salary.
- Date and amount of most recent change in salary.
- Date of most recent promotion, demotion, transfer suspension, separation, or other change in position classification.
- Office to which the employee is currently assigned.
C. Access to Personnel Records As required by GS 115D-28, any person may have access to the public information listed above upon written request to the President for the purpose of inspection, examination, and copying during regular business hours. Any person denied access to any record will have a right to compel compliance with these provisions by application to a court for writ of mandamus or other appropriate relief.
D. Confidential Information All information contained in an employee’s personnel file, other than the public information listed above, will be maintained as confidential in accordance with the requirements of GS 153A-98 and will be open to inspection by the following persons:
The employee or his or her duly-authorized agent, as requested in writing by the employee, who may examine all portions of said employee’s personnel file at all reasonable times in its entirety, except letters of reference solicited prior to employment
The President and other supervisory personnel having authority over the employee
Members of the Board of Trustees and the Board’s attorney
A party by authority of a subpoena or proper court order, who may inspect and examine a particular confidential portion of an employee’s personnel file.
An official of an agency of the federal government, state government, or any political subdivision thereof, when the College deems such inspection as necessary and essential to the pursuit of a proper function of said agency, provided, however, that such information will not be divulged for purposes of assisting in a criminal prosecution, nor for purposes of assisting in a tax investigation.
Notwithstanding any other provision herein, the President may, in his discretion, or at the direction of the Board, inform any person or corporation of any promotion, demotion, suspension, reinstatement, transfer, separation, dismissal, employment, or non-employment of any applicant, employee, or former employee employed by or assigned to the Board or whose personnel file is maintained by the Board, and the reasons therefore, and may allow the personnel file of the individual or any portion to be inspected and examined by any person or corporation provided that the release of the information or the inspection and examination of the file or any portion is essential to maintaining the integrity of the Board, or to maintaining the level or quality of services provided, that prior to releasing the information or making the file or any portion available as provided herein, the President will prepare a memorandum setting for the circumstances which he and the Board deem to require the disclosure and the information to be disclosed. The memorandum will be retained in the files of the President and will be a public record. A copy of the memorandum will be placed in the personnel file of the employee.
E. Remedies for Employees Objecting to Material in File An employee, former employee, or applicant for employment who objects to material in his or her file may place in that file a statement relating to the material he or she considers to be inaccurate or misleading. An employee, former employee, or applicant for employment who objects to material in his or her file because he or she considers it inaccurate or misleading may seek the removal of such material from the file through established grievance procedures.
F. Penalty for Permitting Access to Confidential File by Unauthorized Person Any public official or employee who knowingly and willfully permits any unauthorized person to have access to or divulges any confidential information contained in an employee’s personnel file, except as expressly authorized by the employee or designated custodian, may be charged with a misdemeanor.
G. Destruction of Records No public official may destroy, sell, loan, or otherwise dispose of any public record, except in accordance with GS 121-5(b), without the consent of the North Carolina State Department of Cultural Resources. Whoever unlawfully removes a public record from the office where it is usually kept, or whoever alters, defaces, mutilates, or destroys such record, will be charged with a misdemeanor as provided in GS 132-3.