It is becoming more and more common place that members are reporting to the Union that they are finding personnel records in their employee file that are either misrepresentative of meetings and events or that are just an outright fabrication. The Union has always advised members to regularly check their personnel record for accuracy of information. Each of our agreements with AT&T contain contractual provisions that grant members the right to view their personnel files. In the past, an employee would have to file a written request to view their file, but with the introduction of YouDocs & My Coach, it has never been easier to keep up with what entries are being placed into your personnel file.
Companies have always kept personnel files on their employees and have typically included things such as trainings, performance evaluations, and attendance records. With the widely accepted idea of proving just cause, companies have made it a practice to also include documents to record investigations and disciplinary entries that follow steps of progressive discipline. With the continuing growth of technology and its integration into the workplace, more and more types of documented information finds its way into employees’ personnel records. Thusly, it is now more important that ever that employees be vigilant about monitoring what information is being placed in their files.
Since AT&T made the decision to be more transparent on how personnel records are kept on employees and provided these portals (YouDocs & My Coach) to access parts of your personnel files, members must take advantage of these tools to protect themselves and their work from being misrepresented. As previously stated, steps of progressive discipline are recorded in your personnel file and each of them have a defined amount of time that they will stay in your file. In order to support each of these steps, managers are required to document interactions or observations that show that deficiencies have been recognized. Then, it is the manager’s responsibility to cover each employee on their individual findings and to coach the employee on how to improve upon their deficiencies so that they can perform at a satisfactory level. If improvement is not made, these intervening documented steps will be the basis of proving just cause for the Company to issue progressive steps of discipline that could ultimately lead to an employee’s dismissal.
The first step to protecting yourself from misrepresentation is to learn what types of entries are placed into your personnel file. These may vary from position to position. One type of entry that is consistently used, regardless of your title, is the disciplinary entry. Each of our contracts include a provision that mandates that managers provide a written notice to an employee if a disciplinary entry has been placed in their personnel record. In most cases, this will occur in a private meeting with your manager and you will be given an opportunity to sign the entry to acknowledge that you have received it. It is the Union’s position that members should always decline to sign these entries, but always request that the manager provide you with a copy of the entry. In meetings such as this, you have the RIGHT to have a union steward present, but you must INVOKE that right by requesting that the COMPANY provide you a steward. You may also request the presence of a union steward in any investigatory meeting that the Company conducts with you. This type of meeting WILL BE DOCUMENTED and it is in your best interest to have a union steward present to advise you, clarify questions and statements, and record what is done and said to compare against the Company’s record. After the conclusion of either of these types of meetings, you should talk with your steward to determine what steps, if any, should be taken and if discipline is issued, file a grievance immediately. Even in instances where you feel guilt or remorse for what precipitated the administered discipline, it is always in your best interest to file a grievance against the Company’s action because other unjust disciplinary actions may be taken against you in the future.
When you become aware of any other type of entry that is placed in your personnel file that is inaccurate or false, it is important that you notify management of what you found and do so in a manner that documents your objection. It is my suggestion that the best way to do this is to either download a copy of the entry from either YouDocs or My Coach or ask management for a pdf copy and attach it to an email that will be sent to your manager that includes specifically what is either inaccurate or false about the entry. It is also very important that you CC: the Local President or Vice President on this message so that we can be informed about what is happening in our stores and so that we can also track these types of occurrences.
If you should have any other questions about personnel records or when to ask for union representation, please call the Local’s office at (502) 448-8998. In order to protect our members and improve our workplaces, the Union requires the participation of its members. In short, we need you to do your part so that we can do ours! Please let us know if we can be of assistance.
CWA Local 3310