Recordkeeping

Editor's Note: Know when to keep, discard and destroy employment documents.

Marta MoakleyOverview: 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

Latest items in Recordkeeping

  • Access to Personnel Files and Payroll Records Handbook Statement: California

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    California employers seeking to notify employees of the process for accessing their own personnel files should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Acknowledgement and Receipt Handbook Statement: California

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    California employers should require that employees acknowledge receipt and understanding of the employee handbook and, therefore, should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Access To Personnel Files Handbook Statement: Washington

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Washington employers seeking to inform employees of their rights and obligations with regard to reviewing personnel files and the appropriate procedure for doing so should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Access to Personnel Files Handbook Statement: Maine

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Maine 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.

  • Multistate Employer

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    Multistate employers face the challenge of complying with not only federal laws, but also differing state and local laws. This section highlights some of the states' differences in terms of preemployment testing and background checks, noncompetition and nonsolicitation agreements, and discrimination, pay and leave rules.

  • Pregnancy Accommodation Handbook Statement: Illinois

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Illinois employers should include this statement in their handbook to educate employees about the availability of reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions and to demonstrate compliance with Illinois law.

  • Access to Personnel Files Handbook Statement: Illinois

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Illinois employers with five or more employees seeking to inform their employees of the rules surrounding the review of employee personnel files and medical records should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Access to Personnel Files Handbook Statement [20+ Employees]: Minnesota

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Minnesota employers with 20 or more employees seeking to inform employees of the rules surrounding the review of employee personnel files should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Access to Personnel Files Handbook Statement [1-19 Employees]: Minnesota

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Minnesota employers with 1-19 employees seeking to inform employees of the rules surrounding the review of employee personnel files should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook .

  • Access to Personnel Files Handbook Statement: Rhode Island

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Rhode Island employers seeking to inform employees about the conditions under which they are entitled to access their personnel files and to demonstrate compliance with Rhode Island law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.