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Personnel Files

What are the ground rules for records retention?


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

Ensure private info doesn’t become public


You may not realize it, but your organization may be contributing to identity theft by failing to safeguard personal information such as employees’ names, addresses, birth dates and Social Security numbers. Any one of those breaches could violate the North Carolina Identity Theft Protection Act.

Document absences, and excuses, too


One of the best ways to win lawsuits at the earliest stages is to have ready a treasure trove of documents showing your decision about an employee was fair, impartial and reasonable. For example, for employees with absenteeism problems, document every absence.

Must we allow former employees access to personnel files?


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

Your guide to medical confidentiality under the ADA and the FMLA


Both the ADA and the FMLA have strict requirements for how employers must handle employees’ confidential medical information. HR professionals need to know these rules to comply with both acts—and to avoid expensive legal liability for failing to do so.

When a collection company calls, may we disclose employee medical info?


Q. May an employer provide an employee’s medical information to a collection company?

Personnel records: Your guide to ADA and FMLA medical confidentiality


Both the ADA and the FMLA have strict requirements for how employers must handle employee’s confidential medical information. HR professionals must know these rules to comply with both laws—and to avoid expensive legal liability for failing to do so. Here are the details you need.

Is there a legal reason to have employee photos in your files?


Sometimes, it seems employees and their lawyers can take even the most benign evidence and find a way to twist it into a discrimination case — even something as innocent as including photographs of applicants and employees in personnel files.

Lawyer’s letter says don’t destroy ex-worker’s records—now what?


Q. My department recently received a “litigation hold letter” from an attorney’s office. It instructed us not to delete or destroy any documents belonging to a former employee of ours … While we have a few documents related to this person’s employment, the significant majority of her personnel documents were destroyed through our normal record-retention process. Are we required to comply with this litigation hold letter …? If so, what can we do about the documents already deleted?

Are there state laws on record-keeping?


Q. My company owns a large manufacturing facility in Georgia. I’m familiar with federal requirements, but does Georgia provide for record-keeping requirements under state fair employment practice laws? …