California updated its Government Code as of January 1, 2022. California Government Code Section 12946 increased the retention period for records related to personnel and job applicants to four years. Previously, the minimum retention period for these records was 2 years. The law currently reads:

It shall be an unlawful practice for employers, labor organizations, and employment agencies subject to the provisions of this part to fail to maintain and preserve any and all applications, personnel, membership, or employment referral records and files for a minimum period of four years after the records and files are initially created or received, or for employers to fail to retain personnel files of applicants or terminated employees for a minimum period of four years after the date of the employment action taken.

California’s increase represents a departure from most other state and federal requirements for job applicant information. In recent years, there has been a trend to shorten retention periods for records containing personal information, including those maintained by employers and recruiters. Some jurisdictions set the retention period for job applicant information at a maximum of 2 to 3 years. Shorter retention periods are typically recommended for applicant records in an effort to minimize the amount of personal information employers keep on successful and unsuccessful job applicants.

The purpose behind California’s retention increase is to assist employees and potential candidates pursuing employment discrimination complaints. Once a complaint has been filed, employers must retain those records until the time for filing a civil action has expired or until the complaint, appeals, or related proceedings have terminated.

Interested in learning how this could impact your records retention schedule? Contact Zasio today!

Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is to provide general education on Information Governance topics. The statements are informational only and do not constitute legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the application of the law to your business activities, you should seek the advice of your legal counsel.