Document Retention Also Extends to Investigations

by on July 6, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Keep Investigation Files As Part of Any Document Retention Strategy

The final category of document retention would be documents related to investigations. And these are documents that are related to things like EEOC charges or other type of administrative charges that need to be maintained until the charges are resolved.

Once you start document retention for items that are relevant to an investigation, until that investigation has shut down, those documents need to be kept. Most likely, they need to be kept even longer than that but at the very least until the matter is resolved whether through litigation or through some other informal process, you need to keep those things around. And you also need to protect the employee’s privacy as much as possible to avoid charges of discrimination and retaliation.

What you want to do in terms of document retention during any sort of investigation is to make sure that people don’t really know about the investigation unless they absolutely have to. Now, the practical matter, that’s extremely hard to do. But from a formal standpoint, you really need to restrict the dissemination of this – of investigation information to those people who absolutely need to know.

For example, if this – if the employee’s supervisor doesn’t need to know about a complaint that they’ve made then it’s probably best that they not know so that there’s no question about whether the investigation is going to enter into that person’s mind when they’re making employment decisions.

Now, whether or not that’s a practical thing – that’s a practical thing to do is another question whatsoever. But you see what I’m driving at here, which is that these things really don’t need to be considered unless the person who is learning the information absolutely needs to know them.

And furthermore, just know that any information not protected by the attorney-client privilege that you collect during an investigation may be subject to disclosure pursuant to a document request in subsequent litigation. So just have that in mind while you are preparing your document retention and making your investigation files.

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

Leave a Reply


Request a Free Demo

We'd love to show you how this industry-leading training system can help you develop your team. Please fill out this quick form or give us a call at 877-792-2172 to schedule your one-on-one demo with a Rapid Learning Specialist.