What to do if my employment has been terminated and I have asked for copies of important documents in my personnel file but my employer has refused?

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What to do if my employment has been terminated and I have asked for copies of important documents in my personnel file but my employer has refused?

I am trying to find work. There is a non-compete agreement in place from my previous employer. Potential new employers want their legal department to view my agreement to be sure I am able to be safely employed by them. At termination, I asked for copies of the signed agreement with the associated compensation contract. I was told she would e-mail them to me. I have asked twice more and nothing, not even a response this last time(>5 weeks). Now I am interested in challenging the validity of the agreement, yet I have nothing to take to a specialty attorney. Is there anything I can do?

Asked on May 11, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

One party to a contract is not legally obligated to provide copies of the agreement to the other party after the agreement has already been signed--it is a common courtesy to do so, but it is not legally required. The time to make sure you will be getting a copy of the agreement is prior to or at the time of signing.

To get the agreement if you think you may have grounds to challenge it, you will have to first file or initiate a lawsuit; then, in litigation, you will be able to use the legal mechanisms of "discovery" to obtain a copy. However, those mechanisms are not available outside of a legal action. Discuss this matter with your attorney; he or she may be able to convince the company to give you a copy by threatening to bring a legal action if they are not provided documents to review.


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