Around mid morning on 27 April this year, Asrul was called to his manager’s room and handed an envelope dismissing him. He had been fearing this day; his mind was in such turmoil that he barely registered what his manager was saying to him.

His manager escorted him to his table and advised him to take only his belongings,nothing else. Dumbstruck, Asrul just did as he was told, returned his access card and tag and left the office.

It was only once he was in the hot sun outside that he finally did what he should have done when the manager had handed him his dismissal letter — called NUBE, the National Union of Bank Employees, every bank employee’s best friend, day or night.

When Asrul reached the Union office, he was met by a Branch Committee. After going through his dismissal letter, they asked him for copies of his Interview Notes, Show Cause letter and his reply to it.

But Asrul did not have any of those documents. They were all in his bank drawer in the office he had vacated just a few hours ago. And he had never thought of keeping copies.On the same day, Aida printed her salary slip to attach to her Personal Loan Application.After a few days, an Officer from the Bank offering the loan called to ask whether she was employed by the bank or a subsidiary of the bank: it turned out that her salary slip showed her as employed by a subsidiary. Aida, shocked, wanted to check her other months’ pay slips — but she could not access them any longer.

And Aida had never thought of keeping copies of her payslips.

Many of us, like Asrul and Aida, do not pay attention to important documents related to our workplaces. This may not pose any problems while skies are blue and everything is
going well. But the day a conflict emerges, you will need to make your case with documentary proof and evidence. And that means copies of documents.

Some key documents whose copies you should always have are Offer and Confirmation letters
Contract of Employment
Salary slips,
Performance Appraisal copies
Coaching Forms
Minutes of Meeting with Management
Important Emails
Standard Operating Procedures/Policy Circular
Interview Notes
Show Cause letters
Reply to Show Cause letters
Dismissal letters etc

This list is not exhaustive; there may be many other important work related documents. A good rule of thumb is: when in doubt, make a copy, especially if it has your name or signature, or both.

It turns out that this is easier said than done for many workers. With the advent of paperless technology, many employers now communicate and store documents digitally — that is, on hard drives and servers. These are tightly protected with passwords and access lists, so it is very easy to deny access to workers who want to print copies or copy key files into their own media. A worker who has been dismissed would have no more access to his documents. His ID would be among the first things to be blocked.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

If your bank allows printing, print a hard copy of the document. As soon as possible,scan a copy of the document and mail it to yourself as a Pdf file, and keep the hard copy in a clearly labelled file.

In the case of a letter from you to your employer, you will not have the original copy any more. In such a case, ensure you have a copy with an employer’s acknowledgement chop.

If printing is blocked, save a copy of the document on your own flash drive, and transfer it into a secure folder on your own laptop or computer.

Set up a separate personal email account exclusively for your documents and email soft copies of all your documents to it.

 You have a right to receive the original or a certified true copy from your management of any document that is linked to your employment or your interactions with your employer. If you want this, write to your management and politely request the original documents or certified true copies you want.

Remember — your helpful Union official is only a phone call away. If you find yourself struggling to get your document copies, call us at 03 22749800, and let us guide you.

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