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Ask Leslie: What Are The Best Practices For Organizing Employee Files?

By Leslie Zieren, The McCalmon Group, Inc.

I just took over our HR department, and we have all kinds of records pertaining to our employees - wage records, medical records, personnel records, employment eligibility records, and others – all quite disorganized. What should I consider when organizing all this?

I commend you for desiring organized records. This can help managers and supervisors make employment decisions based only on pertinent, appropriate information, and protect your employer from breach of privacy claims, identity theft, as well as wage and HIPAA violations.

Most employers have several filing systems for employment records. The main personnel file for each employee contains performance information; a confidential medical file for information pertaining to worker's compensation, ADA, FMLA information, drug test results, etc., and a payroll records file. Any investigations of workplace wrongdoing should be kept in a separate file.

Employers should maintain all employees' Forms I-9 in a separate, confidential file so that they are readily accessible in one location in case of a government audit.

Work with your legal counsel to help decide a filing system that works for your particular industry and facilities.

Jack McCalmon, Leslie Zieren, and Emily Brodzinski are attorneys with more than 50 years combined experience assisting employers in lowering their risk, including answering questions, like the one above, through the McCalmon Group's Best Practices Help Line. The Best Practice Help Line is a service of The McCalmon Group, Inc. Your organization may have access to The Best Practice Help Line or a similar service from another provider at no cost to you or at a discount. For questions about The Best Practice Help Line or what similar services are available to you via this Platform, call 888.712.7667.

If you have a question that you would like Jack McCalmon, Leslie Zieren, or Emily Brodzinski to consider for this column, please submit it to ask@mccalmon.com. Please note that The McCalmon Group cannot guarantee that your question will be answered. Answers are based on generally accepted risk management best practices. They are not, and should not be considered, legal advice. If you need an answer immediately or desire legal advice, please call your local legal counsel.



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