United Public Employees.
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UPE News Item

Topic: Supervisory Desk/Working Files

Do you know what is in your desk file?

When is the last time you looked?

By Rick Reeve

      As a Union Steward, I may be called upon to handle a variety of different situations. One topic that I have become acutely aware of lately is the use of desk files and how they are being used to document “anything that could turn into a problem later”. Typically, the information in a desk file is kept for one year in order to complete a member’s yearly evaluation. If that information is not relevant after one year and not incorporated into the evaluation, it should be removed and destroyed.  

     Desk files are intended for evaluation purposes and matters that the Supervisor wants to remember. However, they can be used in a damaging manner by an unscrupulous manager.  It is imperative that you are aware of what is being placed in your file.  You MAY be surprised at what your Supervisor has on you!

You have the right to:

·        Request to see the contents of your desk file at any time. The Supervisor may not do it immediately upon request, but they must comply with in a reasonable time.

·        Request and receive a copy of your entire desk file at any time. The Supervisor may not do it immediately upon request, but they must comply in a reasonable time.

·        Attach your response to any item in your desk file within 30 days of its placement.

·        Request that any item in your desk file be purged after one year of its placement.

    A couple things to remember:

·        Your immediate Supervisor and Department Manager may have their own separate files on you, so make sure to request all desk file information, no matter the location.

·        If you find aggressive documenting on you, you may want to request to have copies made at 30 day intervals to preserve your right of response. Put the requests in writing.

·        Be sure to request all electronic “Chronos” your supervisor or manager may have.

     If you find that the items in your desk file are inaccurate, you should discuss the issue with your Steward or Business Agent. You may be able to request the item be altered or removed. At the very least, you will have monitored your file and will have a response ready to attach to the disputed item. They must include your response with that item until it is removed and destroyed. This can be important if an issue comes up at a later time such as a grievance, complaint, or unfair labor practice filing.

     If you have questions about desk files, please ask your Union Steward or Business Agent


Rick Reeve


UPE Governing Board Member & UPE Union Steward

9333 Tech Center Drive, #300 • Sacramento, CA  95826