Last month, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a sex discrimination lawsuit against the Coca Cola Bottling Company of Mobile, Alabama.
The claim alleges the company failed to preserve employment applications, which under current law must be kept for a period of one year from the date of application or personnel action, whichever occurs later.
This means all applications —even those for rejected applicants — must be kept on file for a year.
"Although it may seem obvious, step one of implementing such a procedure requires documenting the date when the decision to reject an application is made," a release from the EEOC said. "While some employers may brush off the record retention requirements as low-risk and overly technical, the reality is that if the EEOC investigates your company and finds record-keeping violations, those violations may incite the EEOC to make more serious and widespread allegations of discrimination."
The EEOC notes that allegations of discrimination may be more difficult to defend if relevant documents, such as employment applications, are not kept on file.
EEOC officials urge all employers to review record retention policies and procedures to make sure they are in compliance with EEOC regulations.