Retention Requirements As Determined By Law

by on July 2, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Retention Requirements State When You Can Dispose of Documents

Now, retention requirements for specific documents in here. Suggested retention periods by reviewing the major federal employment statutes and keying the retention requirements to the statute limitation under those statutes. You need to be aware that in particular states, you may have longer retention requirements for these documents. And also, just because the law says that you should be keeping documents like this around doesn’t mean that you may not need it longer for your business. So, if you need these documents longer than the law says that you have to keep them in order to run your business properly, by all means, keep them as long as you need them. But again these are suggested retention periods for specific documents.

Under Title VII in the Americans with Disabilities Act, personnel records need to be kept one year from the date of the record, action or termination. For example, if someone sends you a resume and you decide not to hire them, retention requirements state that you need to keep that resume around for a year because if that person files, typically that person is going to have usually 300 days to file a charge for failure to hire with the EEOC. So, if you keep that resume around for one year from the date that you turned them down, then you’ve got it in case they do happen file an EEOC charge. Remember, that’s the floor that’s not the ceiling on the amount of time you need to keep it. Charges of discrimination need to be kept until final disposition.

The Fair Labor Standards Act typically has a two year retention requirements but that gets extended in cases of willful violations and I have yet to see a claim of – a violation of the FLSA that was not willful.

So, typically three years is the time that you need to be keeping what really amount to be your payroll records. These would include things like your workweek definitions, the rate of pay that an employee earned, the hours worked, so any time card records – anything that reflects however the number of hours that the employee worked.

Retention requirements for the Family and Medical Leave Act are also three years. Anytime you’ve got FMLA leave logs, if you got copies of notices to and from the employee, documents describing leave benefits or any disputes that you have with the employee over FMLA leave, you need to keep that for at least three years.

The ADEA as well, the payroll records are going to be again for three years, personnel records just like Title II need to be kept for one year. Do focus here on employee benefit plans, written seniority systems and written merit plans. They need to be kept for the duration of the plan plus one year. And again, any records related to a report in an enforcement action need to be kept until that matter is resolved.

OSHA forms are typically five years after the end of the calendar year, but records of medical exams used to monitor exposure to hazardous material are employment plus 30 years. Retention requirements for medical records is always a little bit of a sticky issue. People are never sure of how long to keep them.

Usually the safest fallback is to unfortunately keep them for 30 years. That’s really using a belt and suspenders approach but just – unfortunately you really have to analyze what types of medical records they are, or what purpose you obtained for them. There’s no real set in stone guidance on medical records. It just depends what they were used for.

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

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