Properly maintaining our business records is vital to our compliance with laws and regulations. However, knowing what documents and information to keep— and for how long—can be confusing. In fact, in the event of a lawsuit or investigation, we are required to suspend usual document retention rules and preserve evidence. The consequences of a wrong decision— whether to retain too long or discard too soon—can be extremely costly. Keeping excess documents adds costs to review and search in discovery and increases litigation risk.

In order to comply with all laws and regulations regarding the preservation of records, we have adopted policies in each country concerning the types of documents we are required to maintain and establishing retention schedules for each type of record (including electronic records) and specifying circumstances, such as lawsuits or investigations, when it is necessary to maintain or segregate certain records. Records should be retained or destroyed only in accordance with the applicable company policy.

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Retention of Business Records Check your knowledge

During an annual office spring cleaning, Julie, the office manager, finds an old box in the back of a storage closet. After dusting off the top and opening the box, she realizes that it contains financial records and client contracts from 1992. Upon further inspection, there are no other boxes of this type in the closet or anywhere else in the office. Julie asks her fellow coworkers, and no one claims any knowledge or ownership of the box. Julie would like to destroy the documents and make room in the closet.

What should Julie do?

A) Simply shred the documents. It is obvious that the box was misplaced and forgotten. B) Contact the legal office and ask for guidance before acting. C) Destroy the box and all of the documents, but make a detailed list before doing so.
Correct Answer — B

While it is possible that the box was abandoned, there may be specific reasons why these documents were set aside. The legal office can help Julie determine whether the documents need to be kept or can be discarded.

Incorrect Selection

Please re-examine the situation presented carefully and choose again.

Policy Guidance
Access to Employee Records Anti-Corruption Policy
Business Records Retention and Destruction
Communications and Fair Disclosure Policy Confidentiality / Non-disclosure Conflicts Identification and Management Policy for Government Contracts Conflicts of Interest
Drug-Free Workplace
E-Marketing Policy Electronic Communication Electronic Communications & Acceptable use of Technology: Social Media Employee Assistance Program Employment of Relatives Equal Employment Opportunity
Gifts and Entertainment
Harassment-Free Workplace
Inappropriate Entertainment Information Asset Protection Internal Communications Investigations of Legal and Ethical Misconduct
Managing Conflicts of Interests - Information Barriers Media Relations
OFAC Compliance Open Bidding Outside Employment
Personal Ownership of Real Estate Political Contributions Public Relations
Report of Injuries/Accidents Restrictions on Marketing by Fax
Safe Workplace Policy Securities Compliance Smoke-Free Workplace Social Media Solicitation and Distribution Standards of Conduct
Use of CB Richard Ellis Name or Identity Use of Company Property
Violence in the Workplace