If you’re not shredding sensitive business documents, you could be putting your business, employees, clients and vendors at risk.
“A lot of things could happen,” explains Rob Pinson, an attorney who specializes in business and corporate law at Bone McAllester Norton PLLC in Nashville, Tenn. “Employee information could be stolen and their identity could be compromised, which could create claims against the company by their employees, along with possible state and federal financial penalties for breach of information.” Or, if proprietary information like pricing lists, employee compensation or customer information is lost, then a competitor could gain an advantage over your company “and you may not even know it until it is too late,” Pinson says.
Businesses also are required to destroy or shred certain documents under various federal laws, including the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA), which protects consumers from identity theft and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which requires businesses to securely store and dispose of employees’ health information.
So what business documents should you shred? Destroy anything that includes Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, passport numbers, credit card numbers, bank account information, addresses and even telephone numbers.
After paperwork is kept for the recommended time periods, it should be destroyed, recommends Pinson. Examples include:
Employee health information, pay schedules, recruiting documents, time sheets and I-9 forms
Personnel files of former employees
Bills and invoices
Paid off and returned promissory notes and other financial documents and statements
Strategic planning documents
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