Personnel Files and Reference Requests

A. Personnel Files

a) Inquiries from Employees

Employee personnel files are maintained by the local human resources office or departmental office and by Personnel Records/Employee Verification in the Harvard Human Resources (HHR) Benefits Office. Employees may inspect or obtain a copy of their own file(s) by submitting a written request to the local human resources office or they may obtain a copy of their University record by submitting in writing to the Benefits Office, benefits@harvard.edu.

Employers must comply with an employee’s written request to view or obtain copies of personnel files within 5 business days of receipt of the request.

b) External Inquiries

The information that will be released from an employee’s personnel file in response to an outside inquiry ordinarily will be limited to job title and dates of employment. Further information may be divulged if required by law or by the audit provisions of an applicable contract or grant. An employee may authorize the release of additional information (for example, for bank, credit or employment references) by submitting a written request to Personnel Records or to the local human resources office.

Employees may place letters of recommendation or other material that might be useful as employment references in their personnel files in their local human resources office.

B. Requests for Employment Verification

Employment verification requests should be directed to The Work Number, which handles verifications for Harvard. The Work Number will only verify job titles and dates of employment. For income verification, employees should contact Harvard Payroll Services. This information will not be released unless specifically authorized in writing by the employee.

Last updated: 01/07/2013