Compliance for human resources is a daily balancing act of maintaining records for the purposes of protecting employee privacy, protecting the rights and reputation of your organization and staying in good standing with the law. It can be a complicated task of reviewing documents and making sure they are filed correctly and protected, but still accessible at a moment’s notice.
With so many labor laws and industry bylaws that you need to steer your company into complying with, reviewing documents all day can keep you away from the work you find most fulfilling, which is working with people to create a better work environment. Shuffling through documents to make sure your office is compliant is an important duty, but it doesn’t have to consume your job.

Document management can help you overcome the day-to-day stresses of compliance in several important areas. Doing away with the filing cabinet and going digital offers a wealth of advantages besides going paperless. Here’s how document management can help you conquer compliance.

Keep Documents Secure and Accessible

Having company and employee files accessible at short notice is important since they may be requested at anytime by different parties including employees or courts searching for discovery. Failure to retrieve and deliver request documents, especially under subpoena can lead to liability for your company as well as you personally, so it’s no trivial matter. It’s also important to have documents ready in the case of an internal investigation.

Having documents readily available is important, but you also can’t just let anyone waltz into the room they’re kept and open an unlocked filing cabinet to view whatever document they please. Part of compliance is security and privacy. At the very least, you need to keep records under lock-and-key, with only a handful of authorized personnel having a key. However, document management systems are a much easier way to control access to employee files.

Within Rubex by eFileCabinet, access is controlled by user group and even on an individual user basis. Permission settings let you determine who can and who can’t access certain documents. For example, let’s say the whole HR office can access basic employee info documents, but as the head of HR, only you have access to private documents like health records and background checks.

Rubex’s full-text OCR search means you can search for any file in the system with any words contained in the document, but you can only find it if you have the proper permissions.

As much as it would be easier to keep all documents related to a specific employee in a single folder, privacy laws dictate that certain document types need to be filed separately to avoid unauthorized personnel from accessing documents they’re not supposed to. With Rubex, you can still file documents in separate locations, but either way they’ll be inaccessible to all users except the ones you designate.

Retention Laws

Most compliance standards require organizations to retain certain employee records well-beyond their end date of working with the company. For example, the federal government through the Fair Labor Standards Act requires that businesses retain payroll information no less than three years after the employee’s end date.

The act of keeping records around is easy, however, issues arise when it becomes a matter of storage, and more importantly, liability. Keeping records for employees who are long gone, for years, can make for a clustered filing cabinet if you’re not careful. This shouldn’t be too much of an issue if your records are electronic and you have ample storage space. What HR personnel need to be concerned about when it comes to retention is the threat of liability.

Any personnel documents can be subpoenaed for discovery in future litigation as long as it’s being retained by the organization, regardless of whether or not the organization has retained it for the required amount of time. So it’s in the business’s best interest to purge any records as soon as the required retention date has passed.

Rather than doing regular reviews of your records to check if any documents have been retained for enough time, Rubex has a retention feature that allows you to attach what is effectively an expiration date to a document. On the expiration date, you can either set the system to notify you about the document or automatically purge it from the system. This process can also be automated, by programming the system to attach retention dates to forms it recognizes as a certain document type.

Human resources has a lot to worry about when it comes to compliance. However, you shouldn’t have to lose sleep over document security, access and retention if you have the right tools. To learn how Rubex can be a partner in not just compliance, but all of your company’s document management needs, fill out the form below to view a free demo.

What HR needs to know about compliance  eBook