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Audit those personnel files!

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Developing and maintaining organized HR – employee files is well worth your time.  The ever-present danger of identity theft exists, along with unauthorized access to confidential and sensitive information.  You do need to worry about more than just theft — improper storage of personnel data could also subject your company to a variety of possible discrimination and privacy violation lawsuits. That’s why you need to audit personnel files periodically.  To make sure you’re following the law and protecting your company from liability, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Separate personnel files from other data. Many types of documentation must be stored on their own, away from other files and accessible on a strict need-to-know basis. These files include hiring records, drug test/background check results, EEOC records, payroll files, and in some cases Workers Compensation files. I-9 files also belong on your “file separately” list.  Don’t let any of these types of files remain mingled with your personnel files — they’re simply “too hot to handle” on an everyday basis.
  • Separate terminated personnel files from current personnel files. You’ll want to lock these documents away in their own cabinet, destroying them once they’ve exceeded the retention period set by state and federal laws. Create a regular destruction schedule and destroy the documents completely according to that schedule. Do NOT, however, destroy any terminated personnel files that are, or might be, connected to a termination-related lawsuit.
  • What should your personnel files contain? Well, name and date of hire, of course, along with the application for employment, offer letter, policy acknowledgements and consent to drug or background checks. You can also include performance ratings, self- assessments, reprimands and other disciplinary or remediation records, as well as all training certifications and acknowledgements.

Play by the rules — audit those files today!

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Written by Dan Hettrich

August 25, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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