Can my ex-employer have me arrested for taking my employee file?

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Can my ex-employer have me arrested for taking my employee file?

Everything I have read says the law is referring to trade secrets. My employee file is not a trade secret and it contains my personal info and certificates of completing classes and letters from parents about my teaching accomplishments. If I don’t return them by tomorrow. my employer says that I will do 1 to 5 years. Fl Statue 812.081.

Asked on September 2, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Although I can see your point as to the statute you have cited, the file really is not your property.  It is the property of your employer.  In Florida, you have no right to view or copy your personnel records unless you are a public employee.  The reason being is that the Florida courts have ruled that public employee files are part of a larger scheme of things and are considered a public record. But those in the "private sector" do not have the same rights.  You should have asked before you took it.  If there is no policy prohibiting it by your employer then you had a shot of him giving you a copy.  Now he probably will not without a court order.  I think hw may be exagerating about the 1 to 5 but you do need to give it back.


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