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Your company is hiring. It's inundated by resumes, applications, letters of recommendation. Once you've found the perfect match for the job, you can click delete and let the rest of the applications go, right? No way. Keep those suckers around -- for years.
Federal record keeping requirements are strict. Failure to hold onto applications can open you up to litigation, from applicants and from the EEOC, as Coca-Cola learned the hard way a few weeks ago.
Coke's most recent troubles came after an applicant at a Mobile, Alabama, bottling plant complained after being denied a job. Back in 2010, Martina Owes applied for two warehouse positions, neither of which she was offered. Owes complained to the EEOC, alleging that Coke hired less qualified men instead of her. When the EEOC opened an investigation, Coke wasn't able to produce the application records of the potential and actual hires.
So, not only does the bottling plant face a suit for sex discrimination, it's also facing charges that it violated Title VII by not preserving application materials related to the positions. Some simple record keeping could have protected the company against those charges, as well as provided a stronger defense against claims of discrimination.
Employment and anti-discrimination laws impose a host of record retention requirements on employers. Here's a quick review of the major ones:
In-house counsel should err on the side of retention. Even insignificant documents (a managers notes after performance review, the 400th resume emailed in response to a Craigslist job posting) could prove essential should a controversy arise somewhere down the line.
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