Faculty Rights Tip: What’s in Your PAF?
Every faculty member, including instructional faculty, coaches, counselors, and librarians, has a Personnel Action File (PAF). It is the only official personnel file for employment information and data that may be relevant to personnel recommendations or actions.
Article 11 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) covers the various rules about faculty Personnel Action Files.
- There is a designated office that holds the PAF for each faculty member. The actual location can vary depending upon your faculty classification.
- The custodian of the PAF must keep a log of all who access the file.
- If an administrator places materials in your PAF, you should be notified five days in advance of the placement.
- You have the right to access all the materials in your file, and it is a good idea to check your PAF at least once a year to make sure everything that is in the PAF is properly there.
- You have the right to submit material to your file, including the right to submit a rebuttal to any material others may put in your file.
It’s important for all faculty members to know where the PAF is located, what is included in the file, and their rights regarding the PAF (covered in Article 11).
At the bargaining table, the CSU is attempting to make a change regarding the PAF. Currently a letter of reprimand stays in a faculty member’s PAF for three years and until the faculty member asks for its removal. On November 6, 2020, management proposed to extend the period of time that a reprimand will remain in faculty files from three years to five years. Further, they proposed to disallow any removal from the files if the reprimand is related to discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or health and safety (which constitute the vast majority of reprimands).
After CFA rejected this proposal on August 24, the CSU amended their original proposal and instead proposed that all reprimands regarding discrimination, harassment, or retaliation (but not health and safety) remain in faculty members’ PAF permanently. For other reprimands, the CSU proposed status quo duration (three years and not the five years originally proposed). To be clear, reprimands are designed to address the lowest level conduct and performance issues that are capable of correction — smaller mistakes which may be made early on in a faculty member’s career or inadvertently later on. There are many forms of higher-level discipline which do stay in permanent record. This proposal would have those low-level mistakes follow a faculty member throughout the span of their career. The CSU proposed even stronger terms to make reprimands non-grievable.
Protecting the fairness of our PAF contents and process is essential to maintaining just working conditions for faculty. Stay tuned into our bargaining process and contact your CFA chapter leaders here on how to get involved in the campaign for a fair contract! You can read all the bargaining updates here.
If you have questions about your PAF, you should contact your local CFA Faculty Rights Representative.
- Browse the faculty contract here.
- See an archive of Faculty Rights Tips.
- If you have questions about a faculty rights tip or would like to suggest a tip, please write us with the subject line “Faculty Rights Tip.”