Secret Documentation to Yourself:
Many employees think that if they secretly document events at work, they are empowering themselves. This is NOT true. Your own writing that goes nowhere but to yourself gives little, if any, protection.
Many employees believe that if they document wrongs that are happening at work by writing specific details in a private calendar, journal or notebook, they are strengthening their “case” against their employer. Unfortunate, the reverse is true. Ironically, in a lawsuit your employer can use this type of paper against you to impeach or contradict your story, but you cannot use it to help your case! Moreover, most employees are not aware that if they bring a lawsuit, employers are entitled to obtain this documentation from them, whether or not they wish to produce it.
Sometimes documentation of details can help you remember events more accurately, but you should remember that this documentation might end up in your employer’s hands. If you wish to keep your notes private or retain control over their access in the event of future litigation, you should hire an attorney and address the notes as a communication for your attorney.
Secret Documentation to the Personnel File by the Employer:
What applies to the employee, also applies to the employer only to a lesser extent. While the employee is forbidden to use his private documentation as an exhibit at trial, the employer may still be able to use the documentation at trial as a business record. However, when an employer secretly documents the transgressions of an employee, but refuses to provide the documentation to the employee, the paper loses its power. Most jurors know from common sense that the employer would not keep the document secret from the employee unless the employer was trying to hide something.