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What are the federal record retention guidelines for applications and resumes of candidates we do not select?

While the minimum retention period under federal law is one year, federal contractors need to retain these records for two to three years, depending upon which laws apply to them.

Major federal laws addressing the retention of employment records and, specifically, hiring records, include Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Employers covered under any or all of these laws must retain hiring records for each position for at least one year from the date of the hiring decision (i.e., the date the position was filled). Hiring records include, but are not limited to, all applications and resumes considered for the position, selection testing (employment tests, drug tests) and investigations (reference checks, background or credit checks).

Additionally, records related to current or potential lawsuits or EEO charges must be retained until the conclusion of the case.

Federal contractors and subcontractors with fewer than 150 employees or a government contract less than $150,000 must also retain hiring records for one year, under the authority of Executive Order 11246 and the regulations under 41 CFR Part 60. Contractors exceeding these limitations must retain hiring records for two years. 


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