Employee documents: When to store, when to shred — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

There's no sense in becoming a pack rat if you don't need to. While the legal requirements to retain records are complex, you're probably safe in dumping those 1984 vacation-day requests. Still, knowing which records to save or toss can be critical to your business, particularly in defending against a lawsuit.

Example: A part-time art teacher was recently able to get his age and sex discrimination lawsuit to a jury, in part because the school district had destroyed some of the paperwork from the hiring process despite the federal requirement that it be retained for two years. (Byrnie v. Town of Cromwell, No. 99-9389, 2nd Cir., 2001)

A general rule: When in doubt, don't throw it out. Here's a snapshot of the major requirements under federal employment laws:

FLSA. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) you must:

 

  • For at least two years, keep basic employment and earning records like timecards, wage-rate...(register to read more)

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