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Personnel records

For how long must an employer maintain employee personnel records?

The Massachusetts Personnel Records Act explains an employer’s statutory duty to maintain an employee’s personnel records. An employer of 20 or more employees must retain the complete personnel record of an employee from the first date of employment up until 3 years after the termination of employment.

The employer’s duty to maintain personnel records is longer if litigation is involved. If an employee of brings a legal claim in any administrative or judicial proceeding, including the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination or a court of appropriate jurisdiction, the employer must retain any personnel record until the legal dispute is finally resolved.

Under the Personnel Records Act, all of the following written information or documents shall be included in the employee’s personnel record:

  • the name, address, date of birth, job title and description
  • rate of pay and any other compensation paid to the employee
  • starting date of employment
  • the job application of the employee
  • resumes or other forms of employment inquiry submitted to the employer in response to a job advertisement
  • all employee performance evaluations, including but not limited to, employee evaluation documents
  • written warnings of substandard performance
  • lists of probationary periods
  • waivers signed by the employee
  • copies of dated termination notices
  • any other documents relating to disciplinary action regarding the employee.
Pamela A. Smith
Law Office of Pamela A. Smith
233 Needham Street, Suite 540
Newton, MA 02464
617-969-2900

pam@pamsmithlaw.com

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