THE LAW. Maintaining personnel files can be a chore, but it's the most important element in defending against claims from employees, ex-employees and regulators.

Both federal and state laws require you to maintain various types of employment records. Plus, you must keep some records separate from others. Failure to comply with these rules exposes you to civil and criminal penalties, plus leaves you more vulnerable in the face of lawsuits.

WHAT'S NEW. Recordkeeping requirements are on the rise as security and privacy issues continue to mount. Latest example: The Health Insurance Porta-bility and Accountability Act (HIPAA) dumps new burdens on you to protect the confidentiality of employee's medical records.

Employers and their HR departments must also be prudently paranoid about locking up personnel records. Reason: A new study says the theft of company personnel records is the number one way identity thieves are stealing pe...(register to read more)

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