PERSONNEL FILE RETENTION REQUIREMENTS–THE AGE DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT ACT
Congress enacted the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) to prevent employment discrimination on the basis of age against persons 40 years of age or older. The ADEA applies to most American employers with 20 or more employees. To aid in enforcement efforts of the ADEA, implementing regulations require covered employers to retain a number of employment records for specified periods of time.
Pursuant to these Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulations, covered employees are required to retain for at least three years payroll or other records relating to an employee’s:
* Date of birth
* Rate of pay
* Compensation earned each week
Furthermore, if an employer uses records related to the following in its regular course of business, it is required to retain them for a period of one year from the date of their making or from the date of any employment action to which the records relate, whichever is later:
* Promotion, demotion, transfer, selection for training, layoff, recall, or discharge
* Job orders submitted by the employer to an employment agency or labor organization for recruitment of employees
* Test papers completed by applicants
* The results of any physical examination where such examination is considered by the employer in connection with any personnel action
* Advertisements or notices to the public or to employees of job openings, promotions, training programs, or opportunities for overtime work
All records required to be kept under ADEA regulations are to be retained in a safe and accessible place at the place or employment or business at which the employee or applicant has worked or applied. Alternatively, an employer has the option of storing these records at a central recordkeeping office.
All records required to be retained under ADEA regulations are to be available for inspection by EEOC employees during regular business hours. Records retained at a central recordkeeping office are to be made available within 72 hours of an EEOC request.
Employers may seek an exemption from the regulations’ specific recordkeeping requirements by setting forth the reasons for the exemption and by proposing alternative recordkeeping procedures. The EEOC has the authority to accept or reject an employer’s proposal. Until such time as the EEOC makes such a decision, however, the employer must continue to follow the requirements set forth by the regulations.
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