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. You recently said that I-9 forms can now be stored electronically. To save on office space and filing time, our department is considering scanning and electronically filing all personnel files and documents. Is this OK? —S.S., California

Q. Our employment application states, “This application will remain active for six months.” Is this time frame advisable? How long should applications remain active? And how long should I keep completed applications? —K.S., Minnesota

Q. I've just joined a new company, and our HR people give out employees' information (wage data, demographic info, etc.) to anyone who calls to request it. Is that right? —P.L., Virginia

Q. What's the law on letting employees review all their personnel files? Can we prevent it? —J.S., Utah

Don't open an employee's' personal mail If you know that a letter or package sent to that person at work is personal (not business related). A recent court ruling shows that you may be opening up a legal mess along with the letter ...

Q. What should we keep in personnel files? —G.T., Missouri

If an employee is suffering from performance problems and wants a transfer to another supervisor or position, be careful which details in the person’s history you share with the new manager. That’s especially true if the employee has a history of filing legal complaints ...

Q. In a previous issue you said employers “must keep certain records separate from personnel files.” What, specifically, does “separate” mean—in separate drawers of the same file cabinet? In separate offices? How far apart do they need to be? —T.S., Illinois

Q. We recently received a subpoena to produce the contents of an employee's personnel file in connection with a lawsuit. The employee is a party to the lawsuit, but the company is not. Do we have to comply with the subpoena? Should we tell the employee about the subpoena? —K.H., District of Columbia

HR Law 101: Nowadays, most organizations conduct exit interviews with departing employees to determine why they’ve resigned. Exit interviews can be a great HR tool, but you have to know what questions to ask and, at the same time, what questions to avoid for legal reasons ...

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