And the paper trail rolls on for HR and Benefits pros, thanks to a new rule that took effect April 3.
Back in February, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued an extension of its recordkeeping requirements.
A new rule now says that employers covered under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) — employers with 15 or more employees — must preserve GINA-related records in much the same way they’re required to preserve employment records under the ADA.
But in addition to the ADA rules, employers must preserve records relevant to a GINA discrimination charge until the charge is resolved.
GINA in a nutshell
GINA protects job applicants, current and former employees, members of labor unions and apprentices from discrimination based on their genetic information (a.k.a. family medical history).
It also restricts employers from requesting, requiring, purchasing or disclosing genetic info (should they receive any).
How long you’ve got to hold on to documents
Employers must retain HR and employment records — pertaining to hiring, promotion, demotion, transfer, layoff, termination, wages, accommodations and applications — for one year (two years for educational institutions, state and local governments) from the date the record was made or the HR action involved, whichever occurs later.
Personnel records for employees who are involuntarily terminated must be kept for one year from the date of termination (two years for educational institutions, state and local governments).
When a GINA discrimination charge is filed, an employer must preserve all personnel records relevant to the charge until “final disposition” of the charge.
Warning: Discrimination charges can go through a long appeals process, so don’t trash everything until you know for certain the issue has run its course. It’s probably wise to consult legal counsel to be sure when that time has come.
The EEOC estimates there will be approximately 200 new GINA discrimination charges filed per year.