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

An employee may be allowed to review their personnel file at any reasonable time, provided that a Human Resources Department representative is present when the file is audited.  Employees who desire to remove a disciplinary record from their file must submit a written request to their respective Department Director for approval.  Employees may make a written request for any disciplinary record up to a written reprimand to be removed after three (3) years, provided no further disciplinary action has been received.  Employee records/disciplinary actions relating to suspension, demotion, termination, or any other disciplinary action pertaining to employee pay may not be removed from the employee’s file.  Should the department director receive a request from an employee, the department director will contact the Human Resources Department via written documentation to either initiate the removal of the employee record if approved and/or provide rationale for why they are denying the employee’s request.  As a general rule, department directors shall approve said requests provided the employee has corrected and/or demonstrated improvement concerning the disciplinary record being requested for removal.  Once a written request for record removal is received in Human Resources, only the Human Resources Director with the approval of the City Manager may remove said records from personnel files.  The Human Resources Director shall remove records when required by contract or other legally binding documents.



REFERENCES:   Chapter 17 of the Lawton City Code

  Oklahoma Open Records Act


RESCISSION: This policy rescinds Administrative Policy 3-11 dated July 1, 2018 and will remain in effect until superseded or rescinded.

EFFECTIVE DATE:  August 1, 2019




Michael Cleghorn, City Manager