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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. 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?

A Plant City woman has filed suit against 5-D Tropical, a Tampa fish farmer and importer, for AIDS discrimination ...

Five former employees who say they were fired for being too old and costly have hit PPG Industries, Inc., the Pittsburgh-based paint, glass and chemical giant, with a class-action lawsuit ...

Q. Must I give employees copies of their reviews, terminations or disciplinary items? They are in their personnel files, but I don’t want them running to an attorney. We are not terminating or disciplining employees with any illegal intent, but these days you can never be too careful. –A.D.

Two facility managers for ChildNet, the agency that runs Broward County’s child welfare system, were fired after being implicated in several thefts at the agency ...

If your managers have been less than consistent about enforcing attendance policies, suddenly sticking to the rules could prompt lawsuits. But you can start enforcing the rules now without triggering trouble if you do it the right way ...

Should your organization buy a computer, pay for Internet access and maintain the equipment that your teleworkers use in their home offices? The federal government recently authorized its agencies do all of that for their teleworkers. And that may be the smart play for your organization, too ...

Q. I support the concept of permitting employees to view their personnel files upon request, but I want to know if any law or regulation requires us to provide access. If so, where can I find out about this law/regulation? I’ve been unable to find the rule, and I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve passed this “law” around so long in HR that we believe it exists. –R.C., Alabama

Your unique vantage point in HR equips you to identify managers with the potential to become company leaders. By sharing your insights with top execs, you'll help build organizational excellence and make yourself more valuable. Use these tips to alert top execs to possible future leaders they might be missing ...

Q. Are we required to let terminated employees come in and view their actual personnel files, or can we copy the information and send it via mail? One of our fired employees has hired an attorney and wants to see her file. —T.M. California

One wrong move (especially during the firing process) can send employees running for courthouse. Teach supervisors to avoid unnecessarily angering employees by pointing out the following common mistakes ...

More employers are requiring employees to solve employment disputes through arbitration. But courts are quick to invalidate mandatory arbitration agreements that don't meet the letter of the law. Don't back off mandatory arbitration because of legal uncertainties; just make sure to follow these seven rules ...

If you think that you can forget about a discrimination dispute just because the employee doesn't file an EEOC complaint within the allotted time, you may be in for a surprise. As a new court ruling shows, the EEOC can sue your organization years, or even decades, after the alleged discrimination took place ...

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