Every document has a life—some live for a day, and others for a very long, long time.  Your archives have been around awhile, but it’s important that you don’t let them “live” beyond their usefulness.  I’m talking about the retention period; it takes into consideration the useful value to the business and the governing legal requirements. No record should be kept longer than this retention period.

By not adhering to a program of routinely destroying stored records, a company exhibits suspicious disposal practices that could be negatively construed in the event of litigation or audit. Federal Rule 26 requires that, in the event of a law suit, each party provide all relevant records to the opposing counsel within 85 days of the defendants initial response. If either of the litigants does not fulfill this obligation, it could result in a summary finding against the business. By destroying records according to a set schedule, a company appropriately limits the amount of materials it must search though to comply with this law.

From a risk management perspective, the only acceptable method of discarding stored records is to destroy them by a method that ensures that the information is obliterated.

Documenting the exact date that a record is destroyed is a prudent and recommended legal precaution.  For help with retention periods contact your legal counsel or ask us about our helpful retention guide.


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