April 13, 2017

City Personnel Files Preservation, Safekeeping and Retention- PART THREE

Weekly HR News – City Personnel Files

Preservation, Safekeeping and Retention

In this, the third installment of the series, we will look at how to handle files of employees that are no longer with the city’s employment and also the hiring records of those who applied for employment with the city, but were never hired. 

Terminated Employee Files

Whether the employee was terminated by the city or the employee left on their own, you will need to be aware of the requirements for these particular employee files.  Many of these records will need to be maintained 60 years or more after the employee leaves employment.  For answers on the retention of specific information within personnel files, go to the searchable documents at the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives (KDLA) website

With the retention schedule in mind, does your city have a regular (weekly, monthly or quarterly) disposal plan for documents that have exceeded record retention guidelines?  If not, it is a good time to get one in place.  Who will oversee the program and verify the records have been kept according to the guidelines?   How often will this be done? 

Once you have determined that the employment records have met or exceeded record retention requirements, they must be disposed of via shredding, burning or otherwise fully destroying these records prior to disposal.  This must be done within the destruction guidelines of the KDLA, including the completion of the Destruction Certificates

Lastly, are any files that are related to a current or potential lawsuit maintained by legal counsel or in some other way marked as exempt from any disposal process until after the suit is closed? Keep in mind that under discovery and e-discovery laws, it is illegal to destroy documents related to a current or potential lawsuit.

Hiring Records

These records should include any job requisitions and job postings, interview notes, reference checks, and other hiring records such as applications and resumes.

These records can be accessed by the hiring manager as well as by HR, so they should not include any information irrelevant to the job or to the hiring decision, such as protected class information, arrest records and Social Security numbers (SSNs).      

Once the hiring decision has been made, any information on applicants that were not hired must be maintained for two years, or at the close of any litigation that was filed in regards to the failure to hire the applicant, whichever is longer.   Also, any information retained on applicants not hired would not be subject to open records. 

Next week will look at the issues with files that are kept solely by managers.  For questions on this or other personnel matters, contact Andrea Shindlebower Main, personnel services specialist and be sure to attend the Personnel Files 101 webinar on May 11th.