As some background, I have been in my current position for just over a year and I have nearly 20 years of experience in my field with two bachelor's degrees and a master's degree.
Recently, several of the employees in my department received an email asking for us to please "bring in a copy of your degree". I know that when I was hired, they verified my education with the registrar's offices at the universities where I received my degrees. When I inquired about why, I received no response other than they want to see the certificates I have hanging on the wall of my home office, which is a pain in the rear. I've never heard of an employer making a demand like this before, is this sort of thing commonplace?
Both my education and employment have been solely in the United States and my degrees are from reputable institutions (i.e. not diploma mills)
Update 22AUG2016 I asked my manager about this again and was told that it's some kind of pet project by our new director. He evidently didn't have enough to do...yet. Rather than simply comply and haul my stuff into the office, I decided to wait and see. Sure enough, it has never come up again. I do have pictures of my degree certificates on my phone just in case, but for now I'm doing actual work. The director in question now has a very full plate and is unlikely to return to the subject anytime soon.
( 6 months ago )
It's not the norm, but I can think of several reasons:
Sudden paranoia - having found someone with invalid credentials in a key position
Business contact required it - for example, a contractor taking on a big new contract with new requirements may have to reverify if their records are bad
Insurance - probably only in key circumstances, but where the company needs to prove to an insurer that everyone on site is qualified
Lawsuits - the company was suddenly involved in a suit that claimed that other employees did not have a required degree and yet the claimant was singled out an persecuted for not having a degree.
Usually it's not just because HR has too much free time. :P