If you’re ever sued for an employ­ment case, the first thing the attor­ney will ask for are the employee hand­book and the employee’s employ­ment file. So it’s smart to have well-written poli­cies and a good paper trail. When you doc­u­ment items, don’t back date, don’t over-document, doc­u­ment the events as they occur, date all doc­u­ments, sign all doc­u­ments, get the employee’s sig­na­ture, and inform the employee that the doc­u­ment will go into their per­son­nel file.

The doc­u­ments that should be in every employ­ment file are: the job descrip­tion, a com­pleted job appli­ca­tion, the offer let­ter, an acknowl­edg­ment of receiv­ing and read­ing the employee hand­book, con­fi­den­tial­ity and non-compete agree­ments, form I-9, W-4s, new-hire report­ing, employee ben­e­fits, per­for­mance eval­u­a­tions, cus­tomer and coworker com­plaints, awards, warn­ings and dis­ci­pli­nary action, atten­dance or tar­di­ness records, etc. You should let the employee add to their file and review it periodically

If there are mis­takes, make sure to cor­rect them. Keep the employ­ment file con­fi­den­tial. Allow your employ­ees to access their file with super­vi­sion and inform your employ­ees when you add some­thing to their file.

Finally, make sure you com­ply with gov­ern­ment report­ing require­ments and keep records of the reports.