Overview: Retaining accurate and consistent records in an organized fashion may be the best defense against: (i) an employee court claim; (ii) regulatory fines; and (iii) misperceptions/mischaracterizations of internal policies and procedures. Failing to keep adequate records renders an organization more susceptible to a court's award of damages.
Optimal recordkeeping practices require striking a balance between too many and too few documents. Employers need to avoid keeping duplicative documents, while taking care to maintain all relevant documentation for the recommended retention period. Identifying when too much documentation is too much, or when silence on a subject may pose greater liability to the employer, is simplified when an organization implements an effective document retention schedule.
Trends: Federal and state agencies have continued their focus on proactive enforcement activities. A number of agencies have added large numbers of investigators and auditors to their ranks, thereby increasing the likelihood and frequency of external audits or investigations for employers. For example, the IRS increasingly conducts audits on employer-mandated reporting requirements, and any applicable underlying documentation. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducts strategic audits of employee I-9 forms. Appropriate recordkeeping habits may assist an employer in avoiding greater penalties for "knowing" violations of the laws by showing, at the very least, "good faith" attempts at compliance.
Author: Marta Moakley, JD, Legal Editor
Pennsylvania employers seeking to inform employees of the rules surrounding the review of employee personnel files should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Alaska employers seeking to inform employees of the rules surrounding the review of their personnel files should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Employers seeking to notify employees of the process for accessing personnel files should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Employers seeking to notify employees that they should provide the company with up-to-date personal information should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
This briefing for supervisors examines the law and best practices regarding OSHA recordkeeping, posting and reporting in the workplace.
Vermont has enhanced whistleblower protections for public employees. Effective July 1, 2014, a public employee whistleblower's identity will not be subject to disclosure under the Vermont Public Records Act.
HR guidance on the legal risks and benefits of recordkeeping.