Retention of Information on Persons

Files containing some or all of the following records may exist for the pastor, other rostered persons, employees, registered seminary students, and volunteers.

Description of RecordsCare of RecordsFinal Disposition
Letters of call

Letters of employment

Letters of application

Job descriptions



Honors and clippings
Right to privacy laws dictate that these files must be held in strictest confidence. However, the file must be made available to the employee upon request. Keep this file locked at all times. Place biographical information and career history for the congregation's staff in the congregation's archives.
Emergency notification forms

Health related documents, such as worker's compensation

Letters of recommendation

Background and reference checks

Performance appraisals and letters of discipline


Continuing education documentation

Documents related to compensation and benefits
If information, including background checks and letters of recommendation, attest to the employee or volunteer's fitness to fulfill a responsibility or perform a service, it should be retained for 50 years after completion of service.

If information relates to a worker's compensation or other claim by the employee, this should be retained until the matter is resolved.

If the information relates to a possible claim or lawsuit by others involving the employee's conduct or duties, it should be retained in the synod office or under controlled access in the synod or regional archives for 50 years after completion of service.

As required, the file for a seminary student is sent to the seminary after he or she has signed for its release. It is not preserved in the congregation.
Shred either upon completion of service or after 50 years, as noted in the "Care of Records" column.