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Keep careful HR records to demonstrate solid processes–and catch employee’s lie

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in HR Management,Human Resources

We say it over and over again: The side with the best records usually wins in court. Documented specifics are much more persuasive than unfounded allegations.

There’s yet another reason to keep careful track of all letters, emails and other documents employees may turn in to HR. If an eventual lawsuit alleges that an employee submitted a form or sent a letter containing specific information, good records will make it easier to counter that claim.

You’ll be able to tell the court about your process and then ask for an expert analysis of the document.

Recent case: Samuel was fired after he left his overnight shift while still clocked in and returned four hours later. He was terminated for lying about his whereabouts even after he got a chance to take back his initial claims of innocence.

He sued, alleging he had been discriminated against because of his national origin.

Well into the pretrial process, Samuel produced a letter he claimed he had sent to HR. The letter explained that he sometimes had to suddenly leave work to care for his severely depressed son. He now claimed he left work early because of a medical emergency involving his son.

HR couldn’t find any evidence that it had received the letter. The company’s lawyers then requested a forensic examination of Samuel’s computer, which revealed that the document was actually created many months after the lawsuit was filed.

The court dismissed his case as a penalty for falsifying evidence. (Amfosakyi v. Frito Lay, Inc., No. 12-2037, 3rd Cir., 2012)

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