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Laws, litigation, and audits Oh My! Exploring legal guidelines when going paperless

The ever increasing transformation of business processes from paper to digital offers many benefits.  However, organizations hesitate at times to convert their paper to digital, fearful of the possibility that a digital representation of an original paper document will not stand up in litigation. There are many legal guidelines for electronic retention of documents and evidentiary considerations. This is especially true for the Human Resources department.

Virtually every federal employment law, ranging from the Americans with Disabilities Act to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, stipulates certain record-retention rules for all private sector employers. In addition, many states impose additional requirements.

Federal laws establish the retention of many HR documents, but HRIS and Talent Management technologies may not have functionality to apply retention schedules. The retention of documents in employee files can vary greatly so most organizations will maintain the file based on the document with the longest retention date.

Governance also means the ability to place documents on hold.  Litigation and audits are common reasons documents are placed on hold. Knowing you have what you need for important documents is critical to mitigating risk and being ready when audits occur. You need to control and track access and the ability to establish a chain of custody.