Court rejects privacy concerns in job applications
LOUISIANA–Resumes and job applications submitted to government agencies for public employment are public records, a unanimous Louisiana Supreme Court held in early July. The court found that a Baton Rouge newspaper should have access to the resumes of applicants to two high-ranking jobs at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport.
The (Baton Rouge) Advocate and reporter Mike Dunne sued the parish council in 1995 over its decision not to release the names and resumes of candidates for aviation director and assistant director positions at the airport. The state Supreme Court found that individuals have no privacy right in their resumes as such. Justice Jeffrey Victory stated in his opinion, however, that the Baton Rouge airport authority may “delete or strike” any information that is exempt by law, such as certain medical records, before releasing the documents.
The state high court reversed the Baton Rouge trial court’s finding that the taxpayers’ constitutional right to know about applications to the tax-funded positions was outweighed by the applicants’ personal privacy interest. The Louisiana Supreme Court found that no balancing test was necessary, relying on precedent requiring access to public documents unless a specific law states otherwise. (Capital City Press v. East Baton Rouge Parish Metropolitan Council; Media Counsel: Lloyd Lunceford, Baton Rouge)