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Recordkeeping for Employee Management Purposes: Federal

Author: Peter J. Gillespie, Fisher Phillips


  • Proper documentation of employment-related decisions and employee information often proves to be the source of an employer's best defenses against employment-related claims.
  • Accurate documentation of employment decisions can empower employers to demonstrate objective, legitimate, business-related reasons for past actions.
  • Employers that fail to maintain required records in accordance with applicable legal requirements may face increased burdens of disproving claims brought against them. Silence about an employee's performance can be interpreted as approval. Cumulative documentation that fails to identify negative performance issues can undermine an employer's stated legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for an adverse employment action. See What to Keep - and for How Long.
  • Recordkeeping policies should safeguard confidentiality of employee records to avoid potential liabilities stemming from impermissible access or use of information in employee files. Employers should not only consider what employment records are being kept, but also whether certain records should be kept in separate files or maintained on a strict need to know basis. See What to Share - and With Whom.