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Retaining Employee Documents

Is it illegal in the state of Washington for an employer to keep copies of employee social security cards and drivers licenses?

Employers are permitted to retain copies of supporting documents provided by employees for their Form I-9. Form I-9 verifies the identity and work authorization of individuals hired for employment in the U.S. Employers cannot require certain documents be provided. Employees are able to choose from a list of acceptable documents. Copies of supporting documentation must be filed with Form I-9 and separate from employees’ personnel files.

Further, employers may make copies of specific employee documentation as a matter of company policy. For example, many employers retain copies of employees’ social security cards to ensure the correct social security number is used for tax purposes. In fact, the Washington State Employment Security Department encourages employers to retain a copy of each employee’s social security card. Employers may retain copies of employees’ driver’s licenses if the employee drives a vehicle as part of his/her job.

Employers do have an obligation to ensure the security of their employees’ sensitive data. Any employee files, including personnel files, Form I-9s, and medical files, should be kept in secure areas with limited access.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 5th, 2017 at 7:26 pm and is filed under
Human Resources Management.
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