Employer Personnel Files in Iowa – Part II

A typical personnel file may include the following:

-Employment application, along with supporting documents such as a resume, transcripts and interview notes;
– Recommendation letters and reference checks;
– Copies of non-compete agreements with any prior employer;
– Offer letters and/or employment contracts;
– Form I-9;
– Tax withholding forms;
– Job description;
– Copies of any required licenses or certificates required for the position;
– Receipt for the employee handbook;
– Testing materials, if any (Not drug tests or other medical related tests);
– Training records relating to safety, job competency, sexual harassment, etc.
– Evaluations;
– Awards and disciplinary actions;
– Pay records;
– Personal contact information – home address, telephone number, name of spouse and emergency contact
– Exit interview notes and/or form;
– Recommendation letters and notes of references given to prospective employers.

Employers should establish a records retention policy. When documents are required by law, the law usually specifies how long the document needs to be retained. In absence of a law, the applicable statute of limitations should be the guide. (A statute of limitations is a time period after which a lawsuit will be barred unless the claim is filed within the applicable time period.) Also look at your internal workings to determine if certain documents are needed in order to respond to requests for information.

If information is kept electronically, restrictions should be placed on who can access that information just like paper documents. Also back-up information needs to be kept off-site in order to protect against disasters or theft.