The Act applies to employers who employ five or more people (excluding immediate family members). The Act defines “employee” as someone who is currently employed, is subject to recall after a layoff or leave of absence, or was terminated within a year of the request.
Under the Act, “personnel documents” are records that employers have used or intend to use to determine an employee’s qualifications for employment, promotion, transfer, compensation, discipline, or termination. However, with limited exceptions, employers may not gather or keep records of employees’ non-employment activities.
The Act does not require that employers maintain personnel records, but employers who do must permit employees to inspect their personnel documents at least twice each calendar year at reasonable intervals upon request. Employers must allow the inspections within seven working days after an employee makes a request. In some situations, the employer has an additional seven days in which to allow the inspection.
The inspection must take place at or near the employee’s place of employment during working hours unless a different location or time is more convenient for the employee. The employee may photocopy, but may not remove, any documents. If the employee cannot review the records where they are kept, the employer must mail a copy of the records to the employee. Either way, the employer may charge the employee for the actual photocopy costs.
If an employee disagrees with information contained within his or her personnel file, the employee may submit a written statement explaining the employee’s position (if the employer and employee cannot mutually agree on a correction). The employer must attach the employee’s explanation to the disputed part of the personnel record and must include that explanation whenever that part is released to a third party.
Employers may not release disciplinary records that are more than four years old to third parties. Employers who divulge disciplinary information that is less than four years old must immediately notify the employee in writing unless the employee waived notice. Neither of these requirements applies when: (1) the information is subpoenaed, (2) the information is requested by a governmental agency that is investigating (a) a claim by an employee or (b) a criminal investigation.
Employees may also sue their employers for violations of the Act.
For the whole act, see http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2395&ChapterID=68