I am curious if anyone really knows whether or not there are files kept at corporate on every employee (containing information besides normal stuff like medicals, evaluations, etc.)? Basically if your boss said nasty stuff about you to corporate but it wasn't a formal complaint, is that recorded?
In the UK we have the freedom of information act if an employee asks to see their records they can.
As a manager you cannot record opinion or hear say only facts. Any manager who knows his job would not be foolish enough to write something that is unsubstantiated as it could result in unlimited fines.
Sadly, of the 260 or so cruise ships all around the world today, 250 or so have zero legal connections to the UK.
Your freedom of information regulations have no legal bearing on how we do business.
To answer to OP's question:
Yes they do have large files in Corporate HR offices, containing all the appraisals and evaluations of you made by your superiors
The actual contents of these files are not publicly available.
But if a potential employer contacts your previous employer, the gist of those comments and evaluations is given verbally - within the limits of local laws that pertain to international companies. Remember that most of the cruise lines are international companies.
The problem with the freedom of information act is say I decide to terminate someone's contract then you as a prospective new employer ask for a reference. I can't say that I sacked them for theft etc all I can do is not give a reference, lost in post syndrome, to late for the new employer to make a decision.
"Was employed from ...to...." as a ..... no real information.
The problem is that unless that person had been successfully prosecuted in court they can sue you and on the other hand failing to give a reference they can still sue you if they don't get the job, employment law here has become a minefield.
Even failing to offer someone a chance of promotion when they are on maternity leave can cost you dearly.
We have many laws like "The Human Rights Act" that are wide open to abuse.