A Document Records Management Program Can Help You Standardize Document Retention: Include These Three Points to Strengthen It

by on July 8, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Three elements to include in your document records management program

There is a crushing volume of paper documents and electronic records that are coming your way on a daily basis. On top of that, there is a crushing volume of laws dictating what to do with the different kinds of information included in those paper and electronic documents. How do you keep up with all the record-related guidelines, restrictions, time period and state and federal statutes?

It may be beneficial to form a document records management program to help you handle the ins and outs of employee record retention. Here are some tips on creating a strong document records management program.

  1. Your document records management program should identify the documents and information that your company produces. What kind of information does your company need and create? What kind of information does your company deem important enough for long-term retention?
  2. Your program should control how long you need to keep documents for, in order to meet your business needs and in order to meet your legal obligations. Legal obligations include both federal and state policies in an array of different statutes, and all must be properly defined and included in your document records management program.
  3. Your program should control at what time each type of document should be destroyed. In any legal case, you could have a strong defense even if documents relevant to the case no longer exist. The judge will want to know why those documents were destroyed, and you document records management program could outline reasons for destroying them.

You’re in a much better position if you’re able to hand the judge a copy of your documents records management program and explain, “Your honor, we have this document records management program. It says that two years after a person’s employment ends, we are going to destroy these records. And in this case, two years after this person was terminated, here is a record that we destroyed these documents.” It makes a sort of standardized record retention policy that the judge can see meant no harm to the particular case.

Edited Remarks from “Personnel Document Retention: What to Keep, How to Keep It and Why It Matters” by Matthew Gilley

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