From the Hotline: Keep Original Employment Application in Personnel File?

Question: Can you tell me the reason we need to keep the original employment application in the personnel file?

Answer: There is no law requiring an employer to keep the employment application on file.

Employers that do keep the employment application on file most likely do so because it is a signed document completed by the employee where the employee attests that the information provided was accurate at the time of signing. Keep in mind that the application contains significant information about the candidate’s experience, past employer, and education. Most importantly, the document is signed by the employee acknowledging the information provided is correct and factual. To give you an example of when an application may be useful, let’s imagine that an employee stated on a resume, during their interview, and on the job application that he had experience required for the job and later you find out it is not true. If the employee is then unable to perform the job because of lack of experience/knowledge, you have additional grounds to terminate employment for falsification of information provided to you which assisted you in making the employment decision to hire.

Ultimately it is up to each employer to decide to keep employment applications in personnel files. There is no requirement to do so but it is considered a best practice. When adopted, these records should be maintained as a consistent practice for all employee files.