Administrative Policy 3-11 Personnel Files


DISTRIBUTION: Departments/Divisions

SUBJECT: Personnel Files

PURPOSE: To establish procedures and responsibilities for the maintenance of employee personnel records and personnel files.

BACKGROUND: A centralized records processing system is required to perform proper personnel management.


 1. Official Records

 The official personnel records and personnel files of the City of Lawton are those maintained by the Human Resources Department. All data relating to employee status, history, performance, commendations, disciplinary actions, and qualifications shall be kept in the employee’s personnel file at the Human Resources Department, along with any other employee information the Human Resources Director in consultation with the City Manager shall deem necessary. These shall be considered the official records and all pertinent information received by departments and divisions shall be forwarded to the Human Resources Department. Medical information shall be maintained in separate files in the Human Resources Department.


 2. Viewing Records

 Any employee may view their personnel records, unless a portion of the record is otherwise confidential by City Code, City Policy or State Statute, at any time during normal working hours at the Human Resources Department in the presence of a staff member. It is the responsibility of the employee to ensure that they have permission from their supervisor to be absent from their place of duty.


 3. Updating Files

 Any change in file status (change of address, telephone number, change of beneficiary, number of dependents, educational achievements, etc) shall be submitted to the Human Resources Department with appropriate documentation, within five (5) working days of the effective date of the change or the date the request for change is initiated.


 4. Personnel Inquiries

 Any inquiries concerning personnel matters (verification of employment, salaries, or status of specific employees) shall be directed to the Human Resources Department. Any other individual or department shall provide no information relating to personnel inquires, without written authorization of the employee.

 The Human Resources Department policy is to only telephonically verify information the employee provides to a creditor/employer and is limited to dates of service, job title, gross income, and eligibility for re-employment. Additional employment information may be released only with written authorization of the employee.

 The following information shall be released in accordance with the Oklahoma Open Records Act:

  • Original application of an employee who is hired
  • Gross amount of public funds paid
  • Dates of employment
  • Title or position
  • Final disciplinary action resulting in loss of pay

 Records kept confidential under the Oklahoma Open Records Act:

  • Materials that relate to internal personnel investigations
  • Testing exam or selection materials for employment
  • Documents relating to hiring, appointment, or promotion
  • Documents relating to  demotion, discipline, or resignation
  • Evaluations
  • Payroll deductions
  • Employment applications of persons not hired by the City
  • Home address of employees and former employees
  • Telephone number of employees and former employees
  • Social Security numbers of employees and former employees

Any records not listed are subject to being released or withheld in accordance with the Oklahoma Open Records Act.

5. Department Responsibilities

 Department directors are responsible for forwarding documents to the Human Resources Department for inclusion in the personnel files of those employees assigned to their departments. Departments may keep copies of certain records such as personnel action forms, performance evaluations, commendations, and disciplinary actions for reference only. Such copies at the department level are not official personnel records. 


6. Verification and Removal of Records

 A Human Resources Department representative must be present when the file is audited. Only the Human Resources Director in consultation with the City Attorney may remove records from personnel files. The Human Resources Director shall remove records when required by contract or other legally binding documents.


 7. Letters of Recommendation

 Department directors or supervisors may, at their sound discretion, write letters of recommendation in their official capacity for former employees, consistent with the following provisions:

  • The former employee must provide written documentation authorizing the department director or supervisor to write a letter of reference.
  • The letter of recommendation must have a disclaimer stating that the letter of recommendation is the personal assessment of the author, not the City of Lawton.
  • The letter of recommendation cannot be written on City of Lawton letterhead.


REFERENCES: Chapter 17 of the Lawton City Code

                         Oklahoma Open Records Act

 RECISION: This policy rescinds Administrative Policy 3-11 dated September 10, 2002 and will remain in effect until superseded or rescinded.




Jerry Ihler

City Manager

July 1, 2018