Several new laws went into effect in Colorado on January 1st, including the much publicized minimum wage and right-to-die laws, but there is a little-known law that went into effect that every worker needs to know about.

The new law requires employers in the private sector to allow each employee access to his or her personnel file at least once each year. The new law also gives one-time access to terminated workers.

Personnel files are usually quite mysterious, with only a chosen few in upper management granted access, and employees often times have no clue what information is in the file and what is being said about them by their supervisors.

If you have been fired from a job or laid off, it could be beneficial to know what's in your file before embarking on a new job search. The information may or may not be accurate, and knowing what's there could give a terminated employee the opportunity to address and explain possible issues with a prospective new employer.

According to ogletree.com, the new law defines a personnel file as "the personnel records of an employee ... that are used or have been used to determine the employee’s qualifications for employment, promotion, additional compensation, or employment termination or other disciplinary action.”

The bill was signed into law last summer by Governor John Hickenlooper.

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