How to Generate, File, Retain and Execute Electronic HR Documents While Complying with Employee Records Laws and Electronic Signature Protocols—Worldwide

Every minute of every workday, multinational employers rely on sophisticated HR information technologies to manage their global workforces. Laws worldwide regulate information technology, and so multinationals must comply, globally. Some laws regulating information technology expressly address the electronic tech context—for example, data security, data breach and data protection laws. These laws can be complex, but at least their application to electronic data processing is clear. These laws have been analyzed in detail in treaties, articles, conferences and webinars, for years. Separately, a different kind of law also regulates electronic recordkeeping, but in a way less understood in the electronic HR data context: old-school, legacy legal rules that predate the electronic era and that presuppose hardcopy paper documents.

Multinational HR teams embracing complex and expensive electronic HR information systems face a vital legal compliance challenge: Do multinational employers’ high-tech electronic systems that generate, file, retain and execute today’s HR documents worldwide comply with legacy HR document laws, around the world, that assume paper records? Our focus here is on how a multinational employer’s global HR and IT teams can set up electronic HR information platforms that generate, file, retain and execute employee records in a way that complies with document-law mandates worldwide. We focus on how a multinational can adopt worldwide, tech-enabled HR information technologies without violating old legal principles that predate technology and that assume employers print their HR documents on paper and sign them with wet ink. Our discussion breaks into three parts: (1) how to use electronic platforms to comply with HR-document-generation mandates and HR government-filing requirements worldwide; (2) how to retain and destroy electronic HR documents legally worldwide; and (3) how to collect enforceable employee electronic signatures worldwide.

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Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.