Maintaining personnel records used to be a whole lot simpler. In fact, any HR department that wanted to be absolutely safe on the subject simply issued a “keep everything” policy.
Sure, offices bulged at the seams. And no, it wasn’t easy to dig through boxes, archives and servers to find a record in that haystack. Still, given enough time, staff and coffee, the HR team could dig out the documents to mount a strong legal defense.
Who knew those were the good old days?
Yes, that was back when managing personnel records was an either/or decision: Either you kept everything, or you were vulnerable in court.
But now, that same “keep everything” strategy can cost you as much as a lawsuit. Maybe even more.
That’s because the Federal Trade Commission’s “disposal rule” says you’ve got to get rid of certain data on job applicants’ records on a certain timetable. Just one mistake qualifies as a violation and the FTC won’t be shy about slapping you with a civil fine of up to $2,500. That little mistake could even get supersized into a nightmarish class-action lawsuit. (Have fun explaining that to your boss or the board!)
But dispose of too many documents – or toss out just that one critical record – and you’re still cooked.
Because if a disgruntled worker sues (and eventually someone will!), you’ll have no way to document how you dotted every i and crossed every t in the appraisal and discipline process before you sent that rude, lazy and insubordinate employee packing. You’ll just have to sit there in court “naked,” hoping you don’t get one of those notoriously pro-employee judges or a jury bent on walloping you with fines, back pay and damages, too.
And what if the Labor Department decides to audit you?
You could always look at the bright side and say, “Well, at least the FTC won’t be fining me for keeping too many records.”
But if old policies won’t save you, a new system will …
Fact is, handling employee records is no longer a minor logistical headache. It’s a legal minefield and one little misstep can literally blow your company – and career – away.
You need a system you can trust. A foolproof system. A clear, step-by-step system that makes sure you can keep what matters, toss what doesn’t and maintain everything efficiently.
Fortunately, you don’t have to invent that system through trial and error. It already exists and it’s already been tested by HR teams and lawyers alike and gotten high marks from both.
The companies using this keep-and-toss system breathe easy. Personnel records never pile up, penalties never arise and when lawsuits do, they have exactly the right documents to defend themselves and stop the meter on legal costs – fast. Their secret? A foolproof system …
So what exactly is this system and how do you get it?
Find out now! We’ve mapped it out for you in an exclusive 17-page Executive Summary that’s based on our ultra-popular audio conference led by nationally recognized employment-law attorney Jonathan Landesman.