Paperless Human Resources Departments

In this blog, we’ve talked quite a bit about electronic systems for businesses and how compliance regulations and retention requirements uniquely apply.  Human resources is a department where there are significant legal regulations that may enforce more detailed requirements for certain documents.  It’s critical for an HR office to follow corporate policies on business records retention, as well as federal and state regulations governing records retention.

Keeping up with the ever-changing regulatory landscape is a significant portion of an HR department’s responsibility. With all the document upkeep weighing on their shoulders, it’s no wonder why HR relies on solid document management systems to automate workflow and simplify search, retrieval and retention of documents.   The laws governing these practices should serve as framework for how to best utilize a document management system.

The HR department of any organization is responsible for retaining employee personnel records, in addition to government compliance reports.  Both are subject to strict retention and destruction guidelines.  While it’s acceptable to preserve most of this information in digital form, it’s imperative to examine each individual document and be familiar with applicable regulations.

The EEOC recommends that several specific documents be kept in hardcopy form even if an electronic format exists.  These documents include performance evaluations, exit interviews, disciplinary records, attendance history, employment applications, resumes, and other pre-employment information.  Any health and medical related information is required to be kept confidential and filed separate from personnel records in accordance with FMLA.  A private employer must retain personnel records for at least one year from the date of creation, or the date of any personnel action occurring, whichever occurs later.  However, in the case of involuntary termination, records must be retained a full year from the date of termination.

Employers must be aware of the statutory rules governing document retention periods and electronic management systems to avoid legal consequences. If your company is considering implementing a paperless human resources department, it’s important to keep up to speed on changing legal guidelines to ensure a solid, conforming document management system.  To learn more about effective solutions for achieving a paperless HR department, talk to ILM today.


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