HR Electronic Records

United States - Natively Electronic Documents

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What is the legal value of native electronic documents (that do not require signature by the parties)?


The majority of legislation generally recognizes the validity and probative value of documents that are natively electronic (i.e., created as electronic originals), subject to compliance requirements.


In U.S. federal courts, electronically stored information (ESI) is discoverable just as paper documents are discoverable. Whether the native electronic document or ESI is admissible into evidence is determined by the same rules of evidence that govern paper documents. The native electronic document: must be relevant; must be authentic (meaning whether the employer can show that the document is what it purports to be); must be governed by an exception to the hearsay rule if a hearsay statement is offered for the truth of the matter asserted; must be an original or duplicate under the original writing rule (the original writing rule defines an original for ESI as “any printout – or other output readable by sight – if it accurately reflects the information”); and, must not be so unfairly prejudicial that the prejudice substantially outweighs its probative value.


Ultimate Software's HR Compliance Assist team relies on a network of internal and external compliance experts and lawyers to provide clients with best practices and recommendations on topics such as HR document retention, employee data privacy, and HR electronic records. HR Compliance Assist also provides local compliance monitoring and alert services in select countries where Ultimate Software's customers have employees. HR Compliance Assist is a service exclusively available to Ultimate Software customers.

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