The employee personnel file—it sounds like the spot to store anything and everything about your employees, right? While the personnel file does contain certain records related to employees and their employment history, there’s a lot of confusion about what records really belong in there—and which ones don’t.

Making a mistake—either not having the right information in a personnel file or having the wrong information in there—can expose your company to unwanted risk. While personnel files are meant to be kept under lock and key, they also can become evidence in the unlikely event that your company is sued for discrimination or unlawful firing. Having a thoroughly documented history of employment, including dates of employment, records on attendance, warnings and performance reviews, can go a long way toward defending against these types of lawsuits. Speaking of lawsuits, you’re exposing yourself to liability if you inadvertently store the wrong documents in a personnel file. Medical records, in most cases, don’t belong there. That’s a privacy violation. And be careful storing any references to the employee’s private life, including political affiliation, race, gender or religion. If it doesn’t relate to the employee’s job performance or qualifications, it doesn’t belong.

Keeping up-to-date, complete personnel files isn’t just about complying with regulations or defending an employment decision. Current and accurate files also can assist you in tracking your workforce, understanding trends, and developing new hiring and retention strategies.

We’ve compiled an easy-to-reference checklist to help you determine what belongs in your employee personnel files. Use this list next time you’re auditing these important employment files.

 

Download the Employee Personnel File Checklist!

Consider the facts. Download our free Employee Personnel File Checklist.

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