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4 Essential Veterinary Documents to Avoid Getting Sued

It's a rare person who wakes up in the morning and decides that they truly enjoy doing paperwork. This activity is not fun, and it's time-consuming, to put it mildly. However, routine paperwork is a fact of life if you're a veterinarian.

Simply put, when it comes to documents for veterinarians, some pieces must be maintained in an orderly fashion. Failure to have the necessary documents on file can land your practice in big trouble, and more than just a slap on the wrist: There could be serious financial or professional penalties if you don’t keep paperwork correctly. Thankfully, HR for Health has developed various ways to help you track and store your documents.

What Documents Do You Need?

Documents that are important to have on hand include: 

  • Those related to recordkeeping, such as employee information and timesheets 
  • Your employee handbook 
  • Compliant onboarding and offboarding forms
  • Forms related to OSHA compliance and/or health and safety policies

It is helpful to keep documents centrally located for easy organization and access. Comprehensive HR software, like HR for Health, allows clients to put all of the documentation essential for veterinary practices together in one spot. You can also store this information in a paperless form, making it easy to track and send. 


As a general rule of thumb, you'll need to keep any documents related to onboarding, offboarding, certain pieces of employee information and payroll. This includes timesheets.

Legally, there may also be documentation retention requirements to follow. Different states have different requirements for how long veterinarians must maintain your documents. You will have to confirm what rules your state has

4 Essential Veterinary Documents to Avoid Getting Suednsplash

in place regarding this. HR for Health can help with that too: Our service allows you to talk with HR specialists informed in all sorts of areas, including the rules of document retention.

Storing and accessing paper documents can be cumbersome and a challenge. Fortunately, switching to an electronic time-keeping system can make life easier. HR for Health has such a system. We also have a system that handily enables cloud-based documentation. 

Employee Handbook 

It's essential to have an employee handbook for your veterinary employees. This can (and should) contain various information about your office policies, expectations for behavior, anti-discrimination statements, and other items about your business and employees.

This comprehensive document can be very helpful in preventing a potential lawsuit. When your policies are clearly defined in writing, and you follow them, employees may realize that any lawsuit effort would not be successful.

However, you must draft your handbook correctly, ensuring it aligns with all relevant state and federal policies. You must also update it regularly. This can be a complicated and time-consuming process. A handbook compiled by HR for Health means a compliant handbook for you. We keep our policies up-to-date with the current laws to assist with handbook revisions or updates at any point in the year.

Recommended Resource

2022 Handbook Update Checklist

Onboarding and Offboarding Forms 

Onboarding and offboarding forms are vital documents for veterinarians to maintain. These include forms such as your W-2, I-9, employment offer letter, etc. Again, you have to keep in mind that state and federal government requirements may differ based on where your practice is located. You may also be subject to retention requirements that vary based on the type of license you or a team member holds. 

At HR for Health, we can help you navigate these requirements, customizing our software to fit your needs. You won't have to worry about seeking forms and updating them: We will do that for you.

OSHA Compliance and/or Health and Safety policies

You will have to maintain all documents related to OSHA compliance and any other health or safety guidelines. This may involve vaccination records, acknowledgment of safety practices, and other critical documentation.


4 Essential Veterinary Documents to Avoid Getting Sued

We recommend housing these records separate from personnel documents, as they typically fall under a different set of laws. The additional storage may take time to implement, but this type of organization makes it much easier to prepare for audits.

At HR for health, our document storage allows you to create a uniquely named folder that separates these docs for you.

Do Not Forget (or Lose!) These Documents

The takeaway is this: Managing documents is something you must do. You have to maintain and provide all of the above documents in your veterinary practice when requested. Failing to do this can result in a severe fine as well as damage to your reputation. 

Recommended Reading

Best Practices for When You Revise Your Veterinary Practice’s Employee Handbook

How HR for Health Can Help

When it comes to veterinary practices, proper documentation is not an option. Fortunately, HR for Health has everything you need to help you manage your veterinarian office human resources department. Between our time-keeping software, cloud-based document storage, and employee handbook policy guidance, we can provide everything you need to ensure that you properly manage your practice.

Want more information? Contact us to schedule a demo, and let us show you how we can help you manage your paperwork, so you have the time and space you need to care for the animals that need your attention each and every day.

Schedule an HR Consultation