All companies that hire and maintain employees should maintain an employee or personnel file for each employee they hire. Human resources managers must be careful not to include sensitive information in a general employee file, such as medical, financial, criminal or security clearance records. These types of information must be stored in a secured location, according to state and federal law. Other types of non-sensitive information should be kept in a dedicated employee file to allow for employee review or to be used as evidence in employment litigation.

Preliminary Employment Records

Information regarding pre-employment communications, the position description, copies of an initial job application, resume, interview notes, job offers, any verification forms that were signed, such as reading and understanding an employee handbook, should be kept in an employee’s file.

Wage, Payroll And Tax Information

These types of documents include time sheet records, W-4 forms completed by the employee, attendance records, direct deposit authorizations, annual W-2 statements and child support mandates affecting an employee's take-home wages.

Performance Appraisals, Reviews And Incidents

If your company conducts periodic performance reviews, a copy of each review regarding a particular employee should be placed in the employee’s personnel file. Additionally, any incidents regarding disputes with other employees or management, behavioral issues, patterns of absence, poor job performance and written warnings should be noted in the file.

Training And Education

Many positions require preliminary and ongoing training, education or certification. Employers should keep a record of all training programs that an employee completes. If the employee was issued a certificate of completion for a specific course pertaining to the job, a copy should be kept in the file.

Emergency Contacts And Benefits

All employers should keep a list of emergency contacts for each employee on file regardless of whether the work environment is hazardous. Additionally, all benefits associated with the employee’s position should be recorded. Benefits may include paid vacation, medical insurance, tuition reimbursement programs and other coverage.