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Personnel Files

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? …

Good records make it easy to justify discipline


The Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared,” applies to employers, too. You simply never know when—or why—a fired employee will sue. But you don’t have much to worry about if you have processes in place to make sure each and every disciplinary decision is fair and rational …

Be ready to explain if HR files include photos


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 …

Must we comply with a former employee’s request for thousands of e-mails?


Q. A former employee wants copies of 18-months’ worth of e-mails. That would be an enormous undertaking. Do we have to honor the request? …

Strickland orders DPS to stop destroying records


Gov. Ted Strickland has ordered the Ohio Department of Safety to stop destroying records about employee misconduct and discipline. The request came after the Columbus Dispatch sought records concerning the discipline of a state trooper …

Lawsuit brewing? Think twice before destroying documents


When discrimination charges go to court, both sides are entitled to copies of all relevant evidence. That includes memos, notes and e-mail (with some exceptions for confidential, trade secret or attorney-client privileged communications). Don’t think you’ll be able to avoid liability by getting rid of some documents …

Must employers pay doctors to fill out FMLA forms?


FMLA certification forms are pretty simple—until complications arise. What kind of complications? How about an invoice from an employee’s doctor demanding that you pay the bill for filling out the form? Do employers have to pay? It depends.