Keep or toss? The wrong decisions waste precious office space, trigger huge FTC violations and send you into court “naked” and virtually guaranteed to lose every legal battle.
Still, some companies never worry. Personnel records never pile up, penalties are never incurred and when lawsuits do arise, they have exactly the right documents to defend themselves and stop the meter on legal costs – fast. Their secret? A foolproof system …
Maintaining personnel records used to be a whole lot simpler. In fact, any HR department that wanted to be absolutely safe on the subject simply issued a “keep everything” policy.
Sure, offices bulged at the seams. And no, it wasn’t easy to dig through boxes, archives and servers to find a record in that haystack. Still, given enough time, staff and coffee, the HR team could dig out the documents to mount a strong legal defense.
Who knew those were the good old days?
Yes, that was back when managing personnel records was an either/or decision: Either you kept everything, or you were vulnerable in court.
But now, that same “keep everything” strategy can cost you as much as a lawsuit. Maybe even more.
That’s because the Federal Trade Commission’s “disposal rule” says you’ve got to get rid of certain data on job applicants’ records on a certain timetable. Just one mistake qualifies as a violation and the FTC won’t be shy about slapping you with a civil fine of up to $2,500. That little mistake could even get supersized into a nightmarish class-action lawsuit. (Have fun explaining that to your boss or the board!)
But dispose of too many documents – or toss out just that one critical record – and you’re still cooked.
Because if a disgruntled worker sues (and eventually someone will!), you’ll have no way to document how you dotted every i and crossed every t in the appraisal and discipline process before you sent that rude, lazy and insubordinate employee packing. You’ll just have to sit there in court “naked,” hoping you don’t get one of those notoriously pro-employee judges or a jury bent on walloping you with fines, back pay and damages, too.
And what if the Labor Department decides to audit you?
You could always look at the bright side and say, “Well, at least the FTC won’t be fining me for keeping too many records.”
But if old policies won’t save you, a new system will …
Fact is, handling employee records is no longer a minor logistical headache. It’s a legal minefield and one little misstep can literally blow your company – and career – away.
You need a system you can trust. A foolproof system. A clear, step-by-step system that makes sure you can keep what matters, toss what doesn’t and maintain everything efficiently.
Fortunately, you don’t have to invent that system through trial and error. It already exists and it’s already been tested by HR teams and lawyers alike and gotten high marks from both.
The companies using this keep-and-toss system breathe easy. Personnel records never pile up, penalties never arise and when lawsuits do, they have exactly the right documents to defend themselves and stop the meter on legal costs – fast. Their secret? A foolproof system …
So what exactly is this system and how do you get it?
Find out now! We’ve mapped it out for you in an exclusive 17-page Executive Summary that’s based on our ultra-popular audio conference led by nationally recognized employment-law attorney Jonathan Landesman.
What do airtight personnel records look like?
Take a look right now …
The minute you go to work with Personnel Records: What to Keep, What to Toss, you eliminate all that dangerous guesswork, including:
For certain documents, though, attorneys experienced in handling employment law disputes recommend hanging on to paperwork longer than the law requires. We’ll alert you to what these documents are – and exactly how much longer you should keep them.
OK, so you’re breathing easier about what to toss and when. But there’s more.
Even after the statute of limitations expires, disgruntled ex-employees can come out of the woodwork and sue you for discrimination. Or, the ex-employee could take another angle, claiming that your organization has shown a pattern of discrimination that involves multiple employees who were recently fired.
Good luck defending against a class action if you’ve destroyed certain entries in the personnel records of those former employees. But with that documentation in hand, you have solid evidence of what actually happened versus a worker’s perception – or presentation – of events. In Personnel Records: What to Keep, What to Toss, you’ll know how to gather and maintain that documentation … so you can produce it at a moment’s notice.
Don’t be damned if you don’t …
… comply with the FTC's new Records Disposal Rule. Remember, every employer is responsible for complying with the FTC’s Records Disposal Rule. And remember too, that rule is designed to protect employees. To keep them from falling prey to identity theft, the rule stipulates that you must “reasonably” destroy paper and electronic records containing certain data on job applicants and employees.
But what specific type of disposal method meets the “reasonable” definition? The rule doesn’t say. Nor does it map out the “reasonable” time frame for destroying the documentation.
You’re more or less on your own. And that’s dangerous. That’s why you need to follow the lawyer-approved procedures spelled out in Personnel Records: What to Keep, What to Toss.
Caution: The combination of different retention periods, different requirements for all 13 categories of personnel records, Labor Department audits, aggressive FTC enforcement and disgruntled employees means even small mistakes can blow up into class-action lawsuits. Unless you have a system.
That's why we strongly recommend following the concise instructions found in Personnel Records: What to Keep, What to Toss.
P.S. Remember, there's plenty of risk in not having a system. But there's absolutely no risk in taking a look at the system mapped out for you in Personnel Records: What to Keep, What to Toss. If you don't see how to easily organize your personnel records, trim the waste and streamline access to critical documents, we'll refund your entire purchase price – no questions asked – and you'll have no further obligation.
P.P.S. To develop a sound records-retention policy that helps keep you out of legal hot water … take this opportunity to review Personnel Records: What to Keep, What to Toss today!