Records Retention

You need record retention guidelines – from organizing personnel files and electronic records retention policies to control document management and more.

Business Management Daily provides personnel records retention guidelines, helping you to improve your hard-copy and electronic record retention.

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Q. Recently, an employee was involved in a nonwork-related car accident. The employee’s attorney sent the company an authorization letter demanding that we provide the employee’s personnel file in 20 days. It seems the attorney needs the information for a potential lawsuit (unrelated to the company) concerning the accident. Do we have to turn over the personnel file? ...

Q. I’ve read that we shouldn’t keep employees’ I-9s in their personnel files. Is this a suggestion or are there laws that require them to be in separate files? —L.K., Alabama ...

Q. An employee orally requested that we provide him with a copy of his personnel file. Employee files are voluminous, and we would prefer not to provide a copy if we don’t have to. Are we required to copy the file for our employee? Can we require that the employee copy the file on his own time? ...

Q. Who has the right to view personnel files? ...

Performance evaluations are important tools to help employers gauge whether employees are performing at expected levels. They can help organizations spot talent and leadership potential, while identifying areas where employees need extra training and support. Evaluations also can protect employers from frivolous lawsuits filed by employees who claim they’ve been demoted, fired or otherwise unfairly treated when the real reason was poor performance ...

Q One of our employees has just filed a complaint with the company claiming that she has been sexually harassed. We are concerned that if we discipline the alleged harasser based on our findings and note this incident in his personnel file, he may demand to inspect our investigation records. May we avoid this by maintaining a separate investigation file?

We keep copies of our employees’ licenses, certifications and continuing-education certificates. When an employee leaves or is terminated, do we have to hold on to those copies?

We drug test regularly. Do I have to put the test results in a separate confidential file ...

Some of our managers keep personnel files that they don’t share with HR. Basically, these are “journals” about their employees. Is that OK, or should everything be kept in a centralized personnel file?