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One thing that Ohio business owners figure out fairly quickly is that they need to keep on top of their paperwork. Even if you keep everything on your computer system, you back it up in order to avoid losing important information.

If you have employees, you could say that keeping accurate records is crucial. Some of the records you keep on each employee come from complying with federal and Ohio laws. Then, you have the paperwork required to meet your company’s policies and procedures. You may also keep some records because the human resource industry recommends it. You may also have miscellaneous records about each employee that you keep informally and not on a regular basis.

What documentation should you keep on each employee?

Each employee’s record should probably include at least the following:

  • A job description including any other information that outlines what the company expects of him or her
  • A copy of and signed acknowledgement of the employee handbook
  • All application materials, including a resume, application and other documentation
  • All documentation required by law, including I-9s, W-4s and health care records
  • Records of any conversations between management and the employee
  • Signed acknowledgements from the employee regarding the receipt of copies of all documentation and the understanding of their contents

Even though you obtain signatures from an employee, that does not mean that he or she agrees with the contents of the relevant documentation. Instead, it only indicates that the employee is aware of the contents and that he or she received a copy, but that may be enough to help protect your company if litigation ensues.

Why should you keep all this documentation?

Not every employer-employee relationship works out. If you need to terminate an employee, all of that documentation could come in handy if he or she attempts to say that the company wrongfully terminated him or her. You may not avoid litigation, but you may avoid a decision against your company if you can provide the court with concrete proof that you legally terminated the employee.

If any other issues arise, such as a claim of discrimination, harassment or retaliation, a well-documented employee file could provide proof that the appropriate people looked into the matter and handled it in accordance with your company policies and the applicable state and federal laws. There are no guarantees that a court will not find you somehow legally liable for a termination or other situation, but having accurate records could mitigate any damages the court may order you to pay.