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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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There’s no point in completing performance evaluations and suggesting areas in which employees could improve if no one follows up. The best approach is to schedule an interim review for an employee who needs improvement. Then tell him what he needs to do before the next review ...
How carefully do you maintain your company’s personnel files? If they are a mess and don’t include relevant information such as applications, set aside time now to straighten them out! Courts are increasingly ordering employers being sued for discrimination to turn over any arguably related files ...
Have many of your recent promotions gone to members of one sex or some other protected category? If so, take some time now to figure out how that happened. It’s entirely possible that what at first looks like a suspicious “coincidence” that could be misconstrued as discrimination is actually completely innocent ...
Q. We fired an employee based on an eyewitness account of theft. We documented that report and put it in the former employee’s personnel file. That person has now hired an attorney and asked to see the file. We believe we have no obligation to respond. Do we have to turn it over without a subpoena? ...
Q. One of our managers keeps notes of performance issues in a file that he uses for completing performance appraisals. One person he supervises has made a written request to see her personnel file—and specifically asked for information in the manager’s file. Do we have to give the notes to the employee? ...
Retaliation can turn a relative molehill of a discrimination complaint into a mountain of legal trouble. And the retaliation doesn’t have to take the form of something dramatic, such as a firing or demotion. Little things supervisors do can add up to retaliation. But supervisors can’t retaliate if they don’t know about earlier discrimination complaints or pending lawsuits ...

Terminating an employee is probably the hardest thing an HR professional has to do—and the most legally dangerous. To handle terminations well, you need to keep calm, communicate your message without escalating the tension and stick to a plan. Here’s a 10-step course of action ...

Sheila Smith, a former transport aide in the emergency room at Fairview Ridges Hospital in Burnsville, filed an EEOC lawsuit alleging she suffered discrimination and retaliation because she is black. The court found that while the comments made about her  were “abhorrent,” they were made by co-workers, not supervisors, and did not rise to the level of creating a hostile work environment ...
Q. We usually don’t allow our employees to read or comment on their annual evaluations. Instead, we perform a performance review one-on-one and have them sign an acknowledgment that they have discussed their performance. Do we need to provide them with a copy of the evaluation? ...
Q. We recently terminated an employee for inappropriate workplace behavior. About two weeks after his last day of work, I received a letter from him requesting a copy of his personnel file. He did not state why he wanted it (although I can guess), and I’d rather not give him possible ammunition to use against the company in a lawsuit. Are we required to provide terminated employees access to or copies of their personnel files? ...
Q. What should the employer do when an employee’s personnel file is subpoenaed? ...

 A counselor for the Hillsborough County Children’s Services Department (CSD) lost her disability discrimination case against the county in U.S. District Court for the Middle District in Tampa ...

The Bullard-Plawecki Employee Right to Know Act gives employees the right to review their personnel records. The law requires employees to make written requests to look at the files before they seek legal redress. Keep a clear record of all requests ...

Q. I recently got a form in the mail, signed by a former employee, authorizing release of her personnel file to her attorney. Must I honor it? ...

Q. We recently received a subpoena to turn over an employee’s personnel file. The employee is a party to a lawsuit; the company is not. Do we have to comply? Should we tell the employee? ...

Q. What kinds of information and documents should we keep in our personnel files? ...

Q. In addition to the official personnel files we keep in HR, our supervisors keep informal or working files. Is this allowed? Does this practice present any concerns? ...

Q. One of our employees is having disagreements with his supervisor over performance issues. The employee has asked to see his personnel file. Does he have a legal right to see his file? ...

Just about everyone with an ounce of ambition wants to be promoted. But in most organizations, there’s only so much room for managers and supervisors. Still, failure to win a promotion is one of the most frequent triggers for discrimination lawsuits. That’s why HR should carefully track every employee’s performance and progress ...

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