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Documentation and Supervisors' Notes
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A personnel file is the official employment file for each employee in the department. It is kept in the Department Personnel Office. Only official documents, those which the employee has a copy, has seen or is at least aware, can be placed in the personnel file. The personnel file belongs to the employer (department) and is maintained for the employer’s purposes. For the most part, the personnel file contains performance evaluations, payroll documents, disciplinary documents or official commendations issued by the Division Manager, General Manager, Council or Mayor.
A supervisor’s file on an employee is documentation of incidents, behavior, communications, counseling, compliments, attendance patterns, or any other note the supervisor wishes to store to help refresh her memory at some later date. Only the current supervisor can place documentation or notes in this file, remove them or even review them. The file is not to be open for review by other supervisors, managers, employees, unions, or even the employee. Since it can contain anything the supervisor wants, the file or its contents cannot be considered in the hiring process, or used as evidence to support an evaluation or disciplinary action.
Okay, then, what is a "division file?"
The division file is not an official file, which can be reviewed by the employee, her representative, or others outside the division. Documents from the file may be used as evidence in evaluations or discipline IF the employee was given a copy, knows about the document, or prepared/obtained the document.
What should a supervisor’s file look like?
What do I tell the employee and his representative when they demand
to see my "file" on the employee?
Thus, the best response is to refer the employee or rep to the official personnel file in Personnel Services. They should call the Personnel Records Supervisor to make arrangements to review the file in City Hall South.
Should I let anyone from Personnel Services see my "file" or notes
on an employee?
Should I refer to my notes during my testimony before a discipline
hearing officer, or in any other legal or administrative proceeding?
You should never open your notes while testifying unless the GSD representative advises you to do so beforehand. The evidence in any hearing is your testimony -not the notes prepared to refresh your memory.
What if I receive some "legal" demand to see my notes? For example,
how do I respond to a subpoena for all of my files and documents pertaining
to the employee?
An employee insists on putting a "rebuttal" statement in my supervisory
file. Must I?
What do I do with documents that do not belong in either the department
personnel file, or my supervisory notes? For example, a memo to an employee
requiring doctor’s notes for each future absence. Or, a memo to the employee
reminding her that she should not repeat a mistake.
But, be sure division files are maintained in strictest confidence. Sharing information in division personnel files with the wrong people can get you and your bosses in trouble. If you have any questions, call your Liaison Personnel Analyst.
Do my supervisory notes need to be accurate, well organized and
Is there some "formula" or minimum requirement for what I put in
With all this hassle about supervisory notes, aren’t they more work than they are worth? Why bother? These are questions you need to answer. Just be sure you can recall important events when you need to complete an evaluation, take discipline, prepare a commendation, and testify in a hearing.
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