Records Retention

Several laws contain either explicit or implicit records retention requirements. These laws include:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
The Equal Pay Act
Executive Order 11246
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
The Rehabilitation Act
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974

The table below includes various types of records, the length of time those records must be retained, and the law requiring the records retention. In many cases, several laws require that a particular record must be maintained. In those cases, the law with the longest records retention requirement is listed.

Type of RecordLength of RetentionApplicable Law
Job opening submitted to a state agencyone yearADEA
Job advertisements and internal job postingsone yearADEA, FLSA and ADA
Biographical data (name, address, birth date, sex, etc.)three yearsFLSA and FMLA
Applicant tracking informationone year*ADA, ADEA, and Civil Rights Act
Apprenticeship recordslatter of two years or the duration of the programTitle VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Medical recordsone year**ADA, ADEA, and Civil Rights Act
Offer and hire recordsone year*ADA, EO 11246, Civil Rights Act, Veteran's Act
Promotions, demotions, and transfersone year*ADA, ADEA, and Civil Rights Act
Qualified plan (welfare or retirement) recordssix yearsERISA
Reduction in headcount (Layoffs)one yearADA, ADEA, and Civil Rights Act
Payroll recordsthree yearsADEA, Equal Pay Act, FMLA, and FLSA
Time cardsthree yearsADEA and FLSA
INS Form I9latter of three years after hire or one year after terminationIRCA
Employment contractsthree yearsEqual Pay Act and FLSA
Employee pay and benefit plansthree yearsFMLA
Family leave of absencesthree yearsFMLA
Records and logs of occupational injuriesfive yearsOSHA
Employee exposure to toxic substances30 years after terminationOSHA
Employee terminationsone yearADA, ADEA, EO 11246, and Civil Rights Act
Record of employee disputesthree yearsFMLA
Discrimination charges and related recordslatter of one year after employee terminates or when the charge is resolvedTitle VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and ADEA***
EEO-1 and Vets-100 reportsone yearADA, EO 11246, Civil Rights Act, Veteran's Act

*If, while completing the Affirmative Action Plan, an “adverse impact” is discovered, then the records must be maintained until two years after the adverse impact is eliminated.

**Medical records related to a leave granted under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) must be maintained for three years.