Applications and resumes

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:36 pm
Job applications and resumes are usually the two most common ways that employers retrieve information about prospective employees. Both sources help employers screen for the qualifications, experience, and education needed to complete job duties. If applicants don't meet the current needs of an employer and consequently aren't hired, companies are legally required to retain their information on file for a period of time. This period of time usually varies according to particular federal and state laws. For instance, The Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and Title VII (seven) of the Civil Rights Act dictate that employers must keep all resumes and job applications on file for at least one year. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act also states that companies must keep resumes on file for at least a year, but also requires that they must keep resumes and applications of applicants who are covered by the Act for at least two years. If the time requirement for state laws is different than those of federal laws, employers must adhere to whatever law requires applicants' documents to be kept the longest. It's generally recommended that employers keep all resumes and applications for at least two years, the maximum time legally required for retaining applications and resumes, to avoid violating any record-keeping laws. Keep in mind that many of the questions found on traditional applications for employment have become sources of discrimination suits. A non-discriminatory job application should not contain questions about race, sex, religion, national origin, or other unfair discriminatory criteria. Employers should also be careful when making notes on resumes or applications. Comments that are discriminatory in nature, or could be perceived as discriminatory, are considered illegal under several federal and state employment laws.

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