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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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Employers have any number of legitimate reasons to monitor employees’ e-mail and Internet usage. Beyond personal productivity issues, you risk significant loss should an employee download a virus or other damaging software or engage in illegal activity conducted on company computers. Here's a discussion of the risks, plus a sample policy ...

Q. We require all applicants to complete a pre-employment screening form that asks for their date of birth. The firm that conducts our background checks needs that information to perform the screening. Does this practice run afoul of laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of age?

The costs of employee absenteeism—reflected in lost production, overtime and temporary replacements for the absent worker—can add up quickly. What’s the best way to combat the problem? With a clear policy, careful documentation, consistent application of the policy and progressive discipline.

Not everyone who has a learning disability or even mild retardation is disabled. Under the ADA, every disability is measured by the individual’s condition and whether or not the condition he claims is disabling substantially impairs a major life function. Thus, someone with minor intellectual deficits may not be disabled under the ADA.

Q. An employee asked to review her personnel file, and we let her. Now she wants us to change a discipline notice she found in the file. We don’t have to do that, do we?

The ADA requires HR and employers to maintain strict confidentiality on any medical- or disability-related information. That means keeping it in a separate, secure file, away from prying eyes that have no business viewing the information. But confidentiality doesn’t apply just to paper or electronic records. Employers also have to make sure they don’t discuss such information with those who don’t need to know.

Q. I understand 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?

Whether it's deserved or not, the perception that management is "against" employees, once earned, is difficult to shake. That's why it's so important for supervisors and HR to treat all employees fairly and consistently at all times, especially when it comes to discipline. These five questions can help managers gauge whether their discipline is fair. BONUS: 7 tips for documenting your disciplinary process.

Employers and HR professionals hear it all the time: You must be prepared to preserve relevant corporate information and data and produce it if you are sued. You can take some preparatory steps to ensure that you can comply with inevitable litigation holds and are proficiently primed to assist your attorneys should litigation occur. This list of 22 to-do’s can guide your document and data preservation and retention procedures:

Q. We recently received a subpoena to produce 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?

The ADA requires employers to maintain strict confidentiality on any medical- or disability-related information. That means keeping it in a separate, secure file, away from prying eyes that have no business viewing the information. But confidentiality doesn’t apply just to paper or electronic records. Employers also have to make sure they don’t discuss such information with those who don’t need to know.

In California, you can’t terminate employees for coming forward to press for enforcement of wage-and-hour claims, even if it turns out the claims were unfounded. That’s because California law strongly supports employee rights to get all the pay they’re entitled to, and efforts to punish employees who are wrong would chill efforts to challenge their employers’ pay policies.

Join The HR Specialist in celebrating the first-ever “HR Professionals Week,” a five-day tribute to all that human resources pros do to make American workplaces more effective and American businesses more successful. From Monday, March 1 through Friday, March 5, we're offering a full week’s worth of free resources and activities available to all, including open-access podcasts and white papers on the critical issues shaping the HR profession.

As the recession continues, many employers have had to turn to reductions in force as an unfortunate yet necessary cost-saving measure. Count on some of those former employees to sue. Employers considering implementing RIFs must understand the legal and practical issues that can trap the unwary. Taking these four steps can minimize the risks of lawsuits:

Cary and Brenda Jensen worked for the Lodge at Mount Snow, placing ads and organizing bus tours for senior citizens groups. After six years, the Jensens quit to open ...

Smart organizations educate their employees about acceptable email use and follow a policy of regular computer-file purging to keep the company network free of unnecessary data  storage. But what ...

If your organization uses independent contractors, watch out: Starting in February, the IRS will begin intensive audits of 6,000 randomly selected employers. One of the key targets: Determining whether employers are improperly misclassifying workers as independent contractors to save on taxes and legal risks.

We all make mistakes, especially when acting in haste. Unfortunately, a mistake in the employment law world can mean a long and expensive lawsuit. On the other hand, courts are inclined to forgive employers that genuinely try to make things right. That’s why employers should fix errors and take real measures to make sure any potential negative effects of a disciplinary action have been removed.

Some HR departments are notorious for keeping every stack of paper indefinitely, while others fail to keep enough. Neither approach is acceptable, and it’s up to you to maintain a happy medium that complies with the law. Proper record-keeping is one of an HR professional’s core duties. Knowing what legally must be kept and for how long are important aspects of that duty.

Employers have a duty to protect their employees from identity theft. The federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) of 2003 says employers that negligently or purposely let employees’ personally identifiable data fall into the wrong hands can face fines of up to $2,500 per infraction. Here are six tips on developing a data security strategy.

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