Your company's practices regarding applicants, employees, and former employees must follow federal and state employment laws or your company may face government fines and civil lawsuits. Some of the most important rules for an employer to follow concern the way resumes are treated during and after the new employee search and hiring process.
Federal Employment Laws May Apply to Your Company
Federal and state employment laws apply to employers of a certain size. If you employ at least 15 workers, various federal employment laws apply to your hiring process and the way you treat people who apply to work for your company. Resumes are considered an employment record, just like a job application. Even though you may choose not to interview or hire a particular applicant, your record-keeping responsibilities under the law do not end with that decision.
The Law Requires Record Retention
Several federal laws require you to keep the resumes of job applicants for a specific time period. The federal government is concerned about various types of employment discrimination, such as age, race and disability discrimination, so the discrimination rules listed in Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans With Disabilities Act require employers to keep resumes and other hiring records for a year or more.
Resumes Are Evidence of Your Hiring Decision
Resumes and other hiring records are evidence of the way you made your hiring decision. This is why the federal government requires employers to keep these records for a specific length of time. If an applicant makes a claim of hiring discrimination against your company, you will be required to produce those records to show that you did not discriminate against applicants based on an illegal criteria.
Resumes of Hired Employees Are Part of Employment Record
The law also requires you to keep the resumes of hired employees on file during their employment and for at least a year after the employment ends. Employment specialists typically advise companies to keep resumes and other employment records for three years or longer to guard against potential civil claims by former employees. As a practical matter, resumes are evidence of the representations that your employees made at the time they were hired. If you learn that those representations were false, the falsified resume in your files can be a reason for ending the employment and refusing to pay any promised benefits.
An Employment Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding employment searches is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an employment lawyer.