Q & A – Is it acceptable for supervisors to keep their own records on individual employees?

Q: Is it acceptable for supervisors to keep their own records on individual employees?

A: Yes. It is acceptable for supervisors to retain their own files on direct-reporting employees.  As supervisors work most closely with employees on a daily basis, their records on attendance, performance, discipline, and commendation records, etc. are often the most reflective of an the employees actual performance.  However, all documentation retained by the supervisor is discoverable in legal proceedings.  Therefore, supervisors need guidelines and training on what type of documentation is appropriate.

Topics to cover in supervisory documentation training include use of objective, job-related language; appropriate methods for logging employee records including electronic/computer records, day-timers, and individual manila files; securing employee files; and appropriate purging techniques. Generally, supervisors should be required to forward their files HR on a regular basis and employees should be aware of the documentation in their files.