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Personnel Files

Obtain OK to share background-Check info with clients


Q. Our company routinely runs background checks on all people to whom we offer positions. Can we legally disclose an employee’s background information to a customer who requests it? (The employee is working on the customer’s job site.) —L.B., North Carolina

Secure one-time consent for all employee credit checks

Issue: Must you seek permission each time you want to review an employees’ credit record?
Benefit: As a new court ruling shows, the answer is ‘no;’ you can obtain one …

Long delay seldom sinks lawsuits; retain records until case is resolved


If you know an employee has filed a complaint with the EEOC or state anti-discrimination agency, don’t trash any relevant records until you receive official notification that the case has been resolved and won’t be appealed …

Correct errors found in ‘Old’ I-9 forms


Q. Soon after I started in a new HR department, I reviewed the files and found that some of the employees’ I-9 forms don’t have dates or signatures, or they’ve been completed using outdated forms. Can I go back to employees and redo the forms, collecting current documentation? Or should I just make sure the right forms are used from now on? —J.M., Ohio

Beware of hidden legal risks in annual HR audits

Issue: HR audits can help you identify weak points in your employment-law compliance.
Risk: If you don’t act on the audit’s recommendations (and employees find out) that mistake can kill …

Don’t play ‘Name game’ with newly wed employees


Q. One of our employees recently got married. She’s informally going by her new last name, but she hasn’t changed her name on her Social Security card to her married name and doesn’t plan to. We submit all payroll information using her maiden name. Do we face any liability? —L.K., Missouri

HIPAA Rules Aren’t Just For Doctors and Hospitals


Q. I’d like to know if our company needs something like a HIPAA form for employees to sign when we release personal information to others. Is HIPAA only for the medical field? —B.B., New York

Scrutinize resumes that cite ‘dead’ companies


What if you’re seriously considering an applicant, but a good chunk of his or her past experience was at an employer that’s now defunct? The dot-com bust of the late ’90s …

Tighten policy to foil new identity-theft risks

If your organization hasn’t taken identity theft seriously, here are two good reasons to start now: Starting June 1, federal law requires you to properly dispose
of employee background-check information …

Tighten your record-disposal policy, starting this month

Issue: Beginning June 1, a new federal law requires you to properly dispose of personally identifiable background-check data.
Risk: One mistake can result in actual damages, up to a $2,500 …