811  Personnel Records

Approved by President
Effective Date: June 5, 2017
Responsible Division: Business and Finance
Responsible Office:  Human Resource Services
Responsible Officer:  Assistant Vice President, Human Resource Services

I. Purpose

This policy establishes the criteria and process regarding personnel records at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU or University).

II. Definitions

Public Record(s) or State Record(s). All documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, microfilms, electronic data processing files and output, films, sound recordings, or other material regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any governmental entity. T.C.A. § 10-7-503(a)(1)(A)(i).

III. Public Records and Confidential Information

Under the provisions of T.C.A. § 10-7-503, personnel records are considered public records and may be inspected, extracted, or copied by any citizen of Tennessee during normal business hours, in accordance with reasonable rules of the office having custody of such records.

However, T.C.A. § 10-7-504(f)(1) treats as confidential the following information: home telephone and personal cell phone numbers; bank account information; individual health savings account information; retirement account and pension account information; social security number; driver license information, except where driving or operating a vehicle is part of the employee’s job description, job duties, incidental to the performance of her/her job; residential information, including street address, city, state, and zip code; emergency contact information; personal, nongovernment issued email address; and the same information of immediate family members or household members.  T.C.A. § 10-7-504(a)(25) treats as confidential the following information: job performance evaluations, including but not limited to, job performance evaluations completed by supervisors; communications concerning job performance evaluations; self-evaluations of job performance prepared by employees; job performance evaluation scores, drafts, notes, memoranda; and all other records relating to job performance evaluations. This information must be redacted wherever possible but access to otherwise public information shall not be limited or denied because a record contains confidential information. Further this information is available to law enforcement agencies, courts, or other governmental agencies performing official functions.

IV. Custody of Records

The Provost shall be the official custodian of the permanent personnel records for faculty. The Assistant Vice President for Human Resource Services shall be the official custodian of permanent personnel records for administrative, clerical, and support employees. The official custodian of permanent personnel records shall be responsible for maintaining the permanent personnel files and for ensuring the confidentiality of the records in accordance with this policy. The authority of the official custodian may be delegated to such assistants as are provided by MTSU.

V.  Access to Records

A.  MTSU shall permit an employee, or any person authorized by the employee in writing, upon request, to have access to his/her permanent personnel file, and to review and have copies made of all, or any portion thereof, at the cost and pursuant to the process set out in Policy 120 Public Records – Inspecting and Copying. No records may be removed from the offices of the official custodian except by the custodian or his/her authorized designee.

B.  Any employee may submit a written request to the official custodian of the employee's permanent file to amend any record therein pertaining to that employee which he/she believes is inaccurate or misleading. Within a reasonable time after receipt of such a request, MTSU shall either amend the record or advise the employee of its refusal to amend the record and the reason for the refusal. In the event of a decision refusing to amend the records, the employee shall have the opportunity to file a concise statement containing his/her position as to the inaccurate or misleading statement in the record, which statement shall be made a part of the permanent personnel file, and which statement shall be provided to any person, organization, or agency which receives the contested record.

VI.  Disclosure of Personnel Records

A.  No employee of MTSU shall disclose any record from the permanent personnel file of another employee, except pursuant to a valid public records written request, or with the prior written consent of the employee to whom the record pertains, to any person, agency, or organization other than the following:

1.  officers and employees of MTSU who have a need for the record in the performance of their duties;

2.  persons who require access as part of the routine use of the record;

3.  accrediting organizations in order to carry out their accrediting functions, provided that the access of such organizations shall be limited to non-confidential records;

4.  federal and state officials or authorities authorized by law or regulation to have access to the records;

5.  any person representing MTSU in relation to any claim or action by any person or agency who has need for the record in connection with such representation;

6.  any person or agency pursuant to the order or subpoena of a court of competent jurisdiction; and

7.  the Comptroller of the Treasury or his/her authorized representatives.

B.  Nothing contained in this section shall preclude the disclosure of appropriate information from records contained in a permanent personnel file through the preparation and dissemination of any document published by MTSU, including, but not limited to, budgets and work programs, catalogs, annual reports, newspapers, brochures, and other publications generated in the normal course of business of MTSU, or pursuant to any open meeting or hearing where the information is relevant to the purpose of the meeting.

VII.  Public Records Statutes

In the event of any conflict between this policy and the provisions of T.C.A. Title 10, Chapter 7, the latter will prevail.

VIII.  Retention of Records

Nothing in this policy shall require the maintenance of any record for any period of time in excess of any retention period established by MTSU or state or federal law.

Forms:  none.

Revisions: none.

Last Reviewed: May 2024.

References: T.C.A. §§ 10-7-503; 10-7-504(f)(1); Policy 120 Public Records – Inspecting and Copying.