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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. We fired an employee based on an eyewitness account of theft. We documented that report and put it in the ex-employee's personnel file. That person has now hired an attorney and asked to see the file. We feel that we have no obligation to respond. Do we have to turn it over without a subpoena? —E. I.  

Q. Congress just gave employers the OK to maintain I-9 records electronically. I do payroll for a church. How can we make the switch from paper to electronic? —D.K., Arkansas

Q. We’re cleaning up our personnel files and updating emergency contact information. Some employees don’t want to provide their contact information. Is it legal for us to require them to give it to us? —S.S., California

A top-performing employee is diagnosed with depression and now says her medication makes it impossible for her to make it to work on time. Must an employer change her work schedule? A job applicant volunteers that he is intellectually disabled but says he can perform his job with a job coach. Is that a reasonable accommodation? Are you prepared to answer those questions ... and more?

Q. An ex-employee whom we fired is now asking to take some documents from his personnel file. Is he legally allowed to do this? Do we have to give him the information just because he's asking for it? —L.B., North Carolina

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

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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