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Personnel Files

Suspicious of claimed injury? Examine records carefully for prior problems


Too often, employees who suffer a minor accident at work milk that injury for extended workers’ compensation benefits. That’s why it’s important to diligently pursue suspected false claims with your insurance carrier. That may involve alerting it to your suspicions and reviewing the employee’s medical records to see if what he or she is complaining about is really a preexisting condition and not the result of a more recent injury …

Keep written records showing discipline rationale


The decks are stacked against employees who claim retaliation when there is no direct evidence of discrimination—if employers keep complete written records of their disciplinary actions. Those cases often hinge on allegations the employer trumped up disciplinary charges to cover up retaliation. That can be difficult for an employee to prove if there is a solid paper trail documenting the employee’s infractions and the resulting discipline …

Employee access to personnel files


Q. Who has the right to view personnel files? …

Do you destroy hiring documents? Track process anyway


Nothing generates paper like the hiring process, especially if it involves multiple interviews and committee meetings. What do you do with all that paper? If you destroy it, be prepared to show you do so routinely. Otherwise, a jury or judge may view the destruction as evidence you have something to hide …

Back seat of the car makes a poor backup plan


It’s still the safest place for small children in a car, but the back seat may not be the best place to stow your company’s backup data …

Want the job? Giving your Social Security number is mandatory


No doubt you’ve read recent accounts about the prevalence of identity theft and the use of Social Security numbers to obtain fraudulent credit cards and other documents. But the rise in such crimes does not excuse employees from giving their Social Security numbers to employers …

Immigration: Know Your ‘Border Guard’ Responsibilities


Immigration reform was a hot topic in Washington during the first half of 2007, but Congress ultimately failed to pass legislation to tighten enforcement of decades-old laws that regulate which foreign-born workers are eligible to work in the United States. Fairly or not, look for employers and the HR functions to bear much of the enforcement responsibilities. Your best bet: Make sure you document employees’ eligibility to work by thoroughly completing and maintaining up-to-date I-9 forms …

Personnel records versus investigation records


Q One of our employees has just filed a complaint with the company claiming that she has been sexually harassed. We are concerned that if we discipline the alleged harasser based on our findings and note this incident in his personnel file, he may demand to inspect our investigation records. May we avoid this by maintaining a separate investigation file?

Keep Copies Of Employee Licenses, Certifications


We keep copies of our employees’ licenses, certifications and continuing-education certificates. When an employee leaves or is terminated, do we have to hold on to those copies?

Can We Retain Old Time Sheets Electronically?


It’s a nightmare to keep paper copies of all our employees’ time sheets. I can scan them and save them in electronic format. Can I throw out the paper copies after I scan them in?