Q & A: Document Retention

Q:  How long do I need to retain documents and records in case of litigation?

A: The length of time that is required to retain documents and records varies based on the type of document as well as state and federal law.

It is recommended that personnel records be retained for as long as an employee can bring action against an employer for an employment decision. However, if a claim is filed against an employer, the employer is then required to retain all relevant documents and records until final disposition of the matter, even if the original retention period has passed.

In addition, documents used to prepare reports required under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) must be retained for at least six years from the date of filing, though retaining for up to eight years is advised to accommodate late or extended filings. Review federal laws as well as specific state laws to determine how long a specific document or record should be kept.


The information provided herein is intended solely for the use of our clients. You may not display, reproduce, copy, modify, license, sell or disseminate in any manner any information included herein, without the express permission of the Publisher or Publishers of articles within.

The information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information above contains only a summary of the applicable legal provisions and does not purport to cover every aspect of any particular law, regulation or requirement. Depending on the specific facts of any situation, there may be additional or different requirements. This is to be used only as a guide and not as a definitive description of your compliance obligations.