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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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Soon after Gary Lizalek was hired at a Wisconsin medical firm, he informed the company that he believed, as a matter of religious faith, that he was three separate beings. The company fired all three Lizaleks. He sued, saying the company failed to accommodate his religious beliefs.

If your organization doesn’t have a solid performance evaluation system in place, you’re taking a high-stakes gamble you just might lose. Discharged employees who sue will have a much easier time getting to a jury trial if you can’t produce performance evaluations that back up why you terminated them.

No one knows if and when a disaster will strike. But the IRS wants you to be prepared for the possibility. The IRS is warning taxpayers to safeguard their records. It points out six simple steps to help protect individuals and businesses concerning disaster preparation.

A comprehensive document management system can help your business boost productivity, improve the bottom line and stay out of legal trouble. Here are three ways to organize files for easy retrieval, establish a record retention schedule and tame your wild email inbox.

Q. I own a construction company. We require all employees to wear a company shirt. If an employee does not wear a company shirt, he or she is assessed a $25 per day penalty, which is deducted from the next paycheck. Is this penalty legal?

For more than a decade, Minnesota courts have recognized a person’s right to privacy. Most employers are aware that this right extends to the workplace, but many still run into potential employee-privacy trouble. But with some upfront planning and consideration, HR professionals can help their organizations avoid privacy pitfalls and still protect their interests.

Employers that “regard” people as disabled and then discriminate by firing them or refusing to hire them in the first place will face lawsuits—even if it turns out those applicants and employees aren’t actually disabled. That’s a key part of the ADA.

Employers that hire outside firms or investigators to conduct employee investigations and background checks must make sure those vendors strictly comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Failing to do so can result in substantial legal risks, including damages, penalties, fines, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees awards.

President Obama has said he wants to “make government cool again.” His latest attempt: The federal government’s HR directors are studying a plan to boost the starting pay of college grads by a cool $8,000 a year—to $41,210.

Q. How long after employees have left should we retain their files? And if we shred the files, do we have to keep a record of employment date, termination date and any other information?

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

A. You should include pretty much all documentation concerning an employee’s history with the company—attendance, pay history, job history, discipline and evaluations—except medical documentation and, perhaps, protected activity information concerning matters such as discrimination and harassment complaints.

Q. In New York, does a terminated employee have the right to see his personnel file or other documents?

Ohio public school employees who work under contracts for a set term have the right to keep working until the contract runs out, absent certain “extraordinary circumstances.” But school districts that show exactly why an employee should be fired ... are on solid ground when it comes to a later lawsuit.

Employee absences are costing your business more than twice as much as health care, two recent surveys reveal. Cutting even a fraction of absences can have a potent impact on your organization’s bottom line—an attractive possibility in a tight economy when employers need workers to be as productive as possible.

Q. How long do I have to keep employees’ personnel files after their terminations?

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?

Lawsuits may be inevitable in today’s litigious society, but losing them is not. Follow these 10 rules to prevent the most common employment-related lawsuits—or at least increase your chances of winning them.

Q. A former employee has contacted our HR manager demanding a copy of her personnel file. Must we make this available?

Sometimes, it seems employees and their lawyers can take even the most innocent event or evidence and find a way to twist it into a discrimination case. That’s why it’s important for employers to have solid reasons for all decisions. You never know when someone is going to second-guess you ...

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