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Can employers keep past disciplinaries on record forever?

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Hi, just a general query really (or two). If an employee gets a disciplinary which the company states will stay current for 12 months how long can the company keep record of the disciplinary? Should it be destroyed/deleted after the 12 months is up or can it be kept on record for decades if the employee stays working at the company all their life?


And a related question, if it can be kept on record forever can the company refer back to it 5 or 6 years down the line if another disciplinary is brought against the employee?



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There is no rule as such which limits the record as such, but it will only be "valid" for 12 months and during that time, can be taken into consideration if circumstances dictate that it is relevant.


Most companies say that it will be removed after a period of time (i.e. 3 years) and each will have a policy - some keep it on file forever as part of personnel records, but most will have guidelines on how employee information is stored and how long for.


If another disciplinary happens and it's with the same company and for the same offence, it's likely it may be brought up - however, it may be reasonable that the person could be told that they would have been aware that what they were doing was wrong based on a previous discplinary. Good practice would dicate that it is disregarded after a certain period of time - but then the employee should know that what they did ended with disciplinary action the last time so why do it again?


So, the answer to the question is that it varies from company to company on how long information is held, but there is a chance it can be used in the future, but it needs to be reasonable in it's use if it is to be used and should only be used if valid and is legal to do so.

Lived through bankruptcy to tell the tale! Worked in various industries and studied law at university. All advice is given in good faith only :)

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Agreed on everything. Put simply - If you see it as a timelime of reasonableness the older it is the more it becomes unreasonanble to use. The more akin to future misdemeanors more likly it can go agaisnt you - always check policies/contract as they may contractually have to discard/not use after the period

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The court of appeal in 2008 handed down a judgement regarding reliance on previous expired warnings in the case of:




I suggest you Google the above case for the answer to your query.


Good luck

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