2. Disciplinary records
The following disciplinary records are open pursuant to case law or Alabama attorney general opinion authority:
a. Revocation of a nurse’s license. 167 Op. Att’y Gen. Ala. 28, 29 (May 4, 1977).
b. A report of an investigation concerning alleged misconduct of an employee of a State university. Advertiser Co. v. Auburn Univ., 17 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 1907 (Cir. Ct. Lee Cnty., Ala., Mar. 29, 1990), aff’d, 579 So. 2d 645 (Ala. Civ. App. 1991) (attorneys’ fee award was the only question on appeal).
c. Records regarding appeal to the State Tenure Commission from a private or public hearing before the local board of education, except for those portions of the record from any proceedings before the State Tenure Commission, if any, that were conducted in closed hearing to discuss the character or good name of an individual. 224 Op. Att’y Gen. Ala. 109 (July 25, 1991).
d. Minutes of State Tenure Commission meetings, regardless of whether the teacher had a private or public hearing at the local level. 224 Op. Att’y Gen. Ala. 109 (July 25, 1991).
e. Lists of teachers and other personnel to be given notice of transfer, nonrenewal of contract, termination, suspension or dismissal. Birmingham Educ. Ass'n v. Birmingham City Bd. of Educ., CV 94-2637 (Cir. Ct. Jefferson Cnty., Ala., Nov. 15, 1995).
f. Documents in teacher personnel files regarding disciplinary actions and memos of reprimand. Op. Att’y Gen. Ala. No. 96-00003, 1995 Ala. AG LEXIS 59 (Oct. 4, 1995).
The following disciplinary records are closed pursuant to Alabama attorney general opinion authority: Disciplinary charges and proceedings of the State Nursing Board. 167 Op. Att’y Gen. Ala. 28, 29 (May 4, 1977).
In Alaska Dispatch v. Fairbanks North Star Borough and Joseph Miller, 4FA-10-2886 Civ. (unpub. op., Super. Ct., 4th Jud. Dist,, Fairbanks, Oct. 23, 2010), the Superior Court granted the press access under the state public records law to discipline-related records of a former borough attorney running for U.S. Senate who the records revealed snuck onto the computers of his public law office co-workers in order to rig a political poll, then lied about what he had done and attempted to cover it up. The borough’s ordinances prohibit release of material from employees’ personnel files, or disciplinary records, but the judge agreed with the Alaska Dispatch’s arguments that state law supersedes local ordinances if there is a conflict, and that state law requires a balancing of the public’s interest in disclosure against any government or individual privacy interests in secrecy. The Dispatch cited earlier decisions of the Alaska Supreme Court holding that a “personnel records” exception should be construed narrowly, and that those engaged in public service or seeking high office have diminished expectations of privacy. Miller argued that whether a document is or is not a public record should be determined only by the nature of the document, and its status at the time it is created, without regard to whether someone identified in the document later runs for Senate or otherwise becomes the subject of public interest. The court agreed with the Dispatch that the fundamental interest in having an informed electorate makes it appropriate to consider the individual’s present status, when a balancing of public and private interests is permissible. “Individuals who run for office expect that their past will be researched and revealed,” the judge stated, “and thereby lose their previously established expectation of privacy in those documents."
A public body must provide access to “all records that are reasonably necessary or appropriate to maintain an accurate knowledge of disciplinary actions, including the employee responses to all disciplinary actions, involving public officers or employees of the public body.” A.R.S. § 39-128(A). But the public body is not required to disclose any person’s home address, home telephone number, or photograph. A.R.S. § 39-128(B).
Employee evaluation and job performance records are open to the public “only upon final administrative resolution of any suspension or termination proceeding at which the records form a basis for the decision to suspend or terminate the employee and if there is a compelling public interest in their disclosure.” Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-105(c)(1). The Attorney General has found disciplinary records to be evaluation and job performance records, so such records are only subject to disclosure if they form the basis for suspension or termination and the disclosure would be warranted by a compelling public interest. See, e.g., Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. Nos. 98-006 (involving records of disciplinary actions less severe than suspension or termination), 93-005 (involving letter recommending termination, letter of reprimand, and other disciplinary records).
Non-Peace Officers: For non-public figure, public employees’ documents relating to employee wrongdoing must be disclosed if they “reveal allegations of a substantial nature, as distinct from baseless or trivial, and there is reasonable cause to believe the complaint is well-founded . . . .” Bakersfield City Sch. Dist. v. Superior Court, 118 Cal. App. 4th 1041, 1046, 13 Cal. Rptr. 3d 517 (2004) (citing Am. Fed’n of State, Cty. and Mun. Emps. v. Regents of Univ. of Cal., 80 Cal. App. 3d 913, 146 Cal. Rptr. 42 (1978)); see also Marken v. Santa Monica-Malibu Unified Sch. Dist., 202 Cal. App. 4th 1250, 1273, 136 Cal. Rptr. 3d 395 (2012) (quoting Bakersfield and discussing case law in context of substantiated complaint that teacher violated sexual harassment policy); compare Associated Chino Teachers v. Chino Valley Unified Sch. Dist., 30 Cal. App. 5th 530, 543, 241 Cal. Rptr. 3d 732 (2018) (holding complaints against high school volleyball coach involving yelling, belittling student-athletes and holding practices at their homes were not substantial in nature sufficient to outweigh public employee’s privacy interest in personnel file).
Separately, where a complaint has been upheld by an agency or discipline imposed, even if only a private reproval, disciplinary records must be disclosed. See Marken, 202 Cal. App. 4th at 1275 (discussing case law and holding disclosure of investigation report required where district issued a written reprimand against teacher accused of violating sexual harassment policy).
For public figure, public officials, who have a diminished expectation of privacy, a lesser standard of reliability is applied in reviewing the records. BRV, Inc. v. Superior Court, 143 Cal.App.4th 742, 759, 49 Cal.Rptr.3d 519 (2006). In conducting an in camera review, courts look to determine whether the allegations are “so unreliable that [they] could not be anything but false.” Id. at 758-59.
Peace-Officers: Generally, peace officer disciplinary records are protected from disclosure under the California Penal Code. See Cal. Penal Code §§ 832.5, 832.7, 832.8. See discussion elsewhere in this guide.
In 2018 and 2021,however, the California Legislature enacted Senate Bill 1421 and Senate Bill 16, respectively which amended Penal Code Section 832.7 to expressly expand the public’s right of access to certain peace officer records maintained by state or local agencies. In its current form, the law mandates public access to the following eight categories of information: (1) incidents involving the discharge of a firearm at a person by a peace officer; (2) incidents involving the use of force by a peace officer against a person resulting in death or great bodily injury; (3) incidents involving a sustained finding of a complaint alleging unreasonable or excessive force; (4) incidents involving a sustained finding that an officer failed to intervene against another officer using force that is clearly unreasonable or excessive; (5) incidents in which a sustained finding was made by a law enforcement agency or oversight agency that a peace officer or custodial officer engaged in the sexual assault involving a member of the public; (6) incidents in which a sustained finding was made by a law enforcement agency or oversight agency of dishonesty by a peace officer or custodial officer directly related to the reporting, investigation, or prosecution of a crime, or directly related to the reporting of, or investigation of misconduct by, another peace officer or custodial officer, including, but not limited to, any sustained findings of perjury, false statements, filing false reports, destruction, falsifying, or concealing of evidence; (7) incidents involving sustained findings that a peace officer or custodial officer engaged in conduct including, but not limited to, verbal statements, writings, online posts, recordings, and gestures, involving prejudice or discrimination against a person based on race, religious creed, color, national orgin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status; and (8) incidents involving a sustained finding that a peace officer made an unlawful arrest or conducted an unlawful search. Cal. Penal. Code § 832.7(b)(1).
Senate Bill 1421 has been held to apply retroactively to subject incidents occurring before the legislation went into effect on January 1, 2019. See Walnut Creek Police Officers’ Ass’n v. City of Walnut Creek, 33 Cal. App. 5th 940, 941, 245 Cal. Rptr. 3d 398 (March 12, 2019). See also Ventura County Deputy Sheriffs’ Ass’n v. County of Ventura, 61 Cal. App. 5th 585, 594, 275 Cal. Rptr. 3d 843 (2021)(same).
A ”sustained” finding under the statute means “a final determination by an investigating agency, commission, board, hearing officer, or arbitrator, as applicable, following an investigation and opportunity for an administrative appeal… that the actions of the peace officer or custodial officer were found to violate law or department policy.” Cal. Pen. Code § 832.7(b). As long as there was an opportunity for an appeal, even if an appeal hearing isn’t completed, an internal investigation can be final and its findings remain sustained. Collondrez v. City of Rio Vista, 61 Cal. App. 5th 1039, 1053, 275 Cal. Rptr.3d 895 (2021). The disclosure obligations under the statute also apply where an officer resigns before an investigation has concluded. Cal. Gov’t Code § 832.7(b)(3).
These disclosure obligations apply to records held but not created by a custodian agency, such as the Department of Justice, even where the custodian is not the officer’s employing agency. Becerra v. Superior Court, 44 Cal. App. 5th 897, 918-19, 257 Cal. Rptr. 3d 897 (2020)(holding that section 832.7’s plain language makes clear that officer-related records in the Department of Justice’s possession are subject to disclosure regardless of whether such records concern peace officers employed by the department or by another state or local agency.)
Except to the extent temporary withholding for a longer period is permitted pursuant to paragraph (8) of Section 832.7(b), records subject to disclosure under Section 832.7(b) “shall be provided at the earliest possible time and no later than 45 days from the date of a request for their disclosure.” Cal. Pen. Code § 832.7(b)(11).
There are no provisions regarding disciplinary records in general. Thus, these should be treated as any other record under FOIA and presumed open unless a record comes within a specific exemption -- for example, if disclosure of the record in question would constitute an “invasion of privacy” under Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-210(b)(2). See Perkins v. FOIC, 228 Conn. 158, 635 A.2d 783 (1993) (sick leave records); Records Outline at II.A.2.b. Records of teacher performance and evaluation are not public records. See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-151c as discussed above in Records Outline at II.A.2 and II.B.9.
Disciplinary records contained within a Department of Correction employee’s file fall within 11 Del. C. § 4322(a) and are exempt. Newsome v. Biden, 2011 WL 835135 (Del. Ch. Feb. 28, 2011). The Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights also seals internal disciplinary investigatory files of law enforcement officers. 92 Del. C. § 9200(b)(12).
District of Columbia
If disciplinary records contain personally identifying information for the employees concerned, they likely fall under the privacy exemption in D.C. Code Ann. § 2-534(a)(2) and will be redacted before disclosure. In Fraternal Order of Police, Metropolitan Police Labor Committee v. District of Columbia, 124 A.3d 69, 71-72 (D.C. 2015), the court held that not only do the names of officers subject to disciplinary action need to be redacted under the exception, but also the gender and race of the disciplined officers and the dates of relevant events.
The UIPA provides that there is no significant privacy interest in information in an agency’s personnel file relating to disciplinary action taken against an agency employee when: the highest non-judicial grievance adjustment procedure timely invoked by the employee or the employee’s representative has concluded; a written decision sustaining the suspension or discharged has been issued after this procedure; and thirty calendar days have elapsed from the issuance of the decision or ninety days for decisions involving county police department officers. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-14(b)(4).
In the case of a county police department officer, the Hawai‘i Supreme Court held that Section 92F-14(b)(4) protects the disciplinary records of suspended (but not discharged) county police department officers, unless the public interest in their disclosure outweighs the officers’ “significant privacy interest,” as determined on a case-by-case basis. Peer News LLC v. City & County of Honolulu, 138 Hawai‘i 53, 376 P.3d 1 (2016).
Where information resulting in the discharge or suspension of the employee may have been removed from the employee’s personnel file under a collective bargaining agreement provision, but remains elsewhere in the agency’s files, it is subject to disclosure. Disclosure of Employee Misconduct Records, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 99-01 (Jan. 26, 1999).
Disciplinary records relating to a public body’s investigation of employee grievances are open. But any records generated as part of a public body’s adjudication of employee grievances are closed—except for the final outcome in cases where discipline was imposed. 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(n); see generally Gekas v. Williamson, 393 Ill. App. 3d 573, 590, 912 N.E.2d 347, 361 (4th Dist. 2009).
Information relating to the status of any formal charge against the employee, and information about disciplinary actions in which final action has been taken and resulted in the employee being disciplined are subject to public access. Ind. Code § 5-14-3-4(b)(8) (excepting aspects of disciplinary action from the provision giving agencies discretion to deny access to personnel files).
See K.S.A. 45-221(a)(4); 1994-121 (personnel records are exempt from disclosure).
Charging documents and final reprimands of public employees are open. City of Louisville v. Courier-Journal and Louisville Times Co., 637 S.W.2d 658 (Ky. Ct. App. 1982); Palmer v. Driggers, 60 S.W.3d 591 (Ky. Ct. App. 2001). The Attorney General has held that “disciplinary action taken against a public employee is a matter related to his job performance and a matter about which the public has a right to know.” OAG 91-198. However, certain statutes outside the Open Records Act may prevent disclosure. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 161.790(10) (permitting a private reprimand of a teacher).
Employee performance evaluations are exempt. Op. Att'y Gen. 85-724; Trahan v. Larrivee, 365 So.2d 294 (La. App. 3rd Cir. 1978) (citing constitutional privacy right), writ denied, 366 So.2d 564 (La. 1979). Disciplinary hearing records involving employee misconduct, however, do not give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy. Amoco Production Co. v. Landry, 426 So.2d 220 (La. App. 4th Cir. 1982), writ denied, 433 So.2d 164 (La. 1983); Op. Att'y Gen. 99-382 (school board member's access to employee's file to review disciplinary action against him). Nor do interviews given in the context of an investigation by the state Division of Administration. Hilbun v. State Division of Administration, 745 So.2d 1189 (La. App. 1st Cir. 1999).
Disciplinary records are confidential unless disciplinary action is taken. If disciplinary action is taken, then the final written decision imposing or upholding discipline is public. If an arbitrator overturns or removes disciplinary action, the decision is public, except the employee’s name must be deleted from the final written decision. 5 M.R.S.A. § 7070. With only slight variations, the same rules apply to county employees (30-A M.R.S.A. § 503), municipal employees (30-A M.R.S.A. 2702), school employees (20-A M.R.S.A. § 6101), and state employees (5 M.R.S.A. § 7070).
The Maryland Court of Appeals has construed the phrase "personnel records" as "those documents that directly pertain to employment and an employee's ability to perform a job." Kirwan v. The Diamondback, 352 Md. 74, 83, 721 A.2d 196, 200 (1998). Such records would include those directly relating to the employee's hiring, discipline, promotion, dismissal, or any matter involving his status as an employee. 352 Md. at 82, 721 A.2d. at 200. Accordingly, a university record of its employee's on-campus parking violation is subject to disclosure under the PIA because such a violation has no bearing on the employment status. 352 Md. at 84, 721 A.2d at 201.
A junior high school’s disciplinary report – which led to a teacher’s 4-week suspension for allegedly inappropriate comments written on two female students’ homework papers – was an exempt personnel record, the Supreme Judicial Court determined. Wakefield Teachers Ass’n v. Sch. Comm. of Wakefield, 431 Mass. 792, 798, 731 N.E.2d 63 (2000).
An exempt disciplinary report is to be distinguished from an internal affairs investigation, which is a public record that normally must be disclosed. “[A]n internal affairs investigation is a formalized citizen complaint procedure, separate and independent from ordinary employment evaluation and assessment. Unlike other evaluations and assessments, the internal affairs process exists specifically to address complaints of police corruption …, misconduct …, and other criminal acts that would undermine the relationship of trust and confidence between the police and the citizenry that is essential to law enforcement.” Worcester Telegram & Gazette Corp. v. Chief of Police of Worcester, 58 Mass. App. Ct. 1, 6-7 (2003).
The existence and status of any complaints or charges against an employee are public, regardless of whether the complaint or charge results in disciplinary action. Minn. Stat. § 13.43, subd. 2(4). The final disposition of any disciplinary action, including specific reasons for the action and any documenting data (except for data that would identify confidential sources) are considered public. Minn. Stat. § 13.43, subd. 2(5).
Records relating to hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting employees of a public governmental body may be closed when personal information is discussed. Mo.Rev.Stat. § 610.021(3). See Wolfskill v. Henderson, 823 S.W.2d 112, 114 (Mo.Ct.App. 1991) (held police department internal investigative reports not subject to disclosure under Sunshine Law); Wilson v. McNeil, 575 S.W.2d 802, 806 (Mo.Ct.App. 1978) (records of police department pertaining to investigation into death of man in police custody may be closed). But see Guyer v. City of Kirkwood, 38 S.W.3d 412 (Mo. 2001) (finding that internal police investigation report was open to the public because Mo.Rev.Stat. § 610.021(3) conflicted with a section of the state open records law demanding release of all inactive incident and investigation reports). Personal information is defined to include only information relating to the performance or merit of individual employees. Mo.Rev.Stat. § 610.021(3).
The public has a clear and unambiguous right to know the information involved in the internal investigation of a public employee for any alleged violation of any policy, law or rule. The Montana Supreme Court has made it very clear that “internal investigations” of law enforcement personnel (and other public employees) must be fully disclosed to the public while the investigation is ongoing, as well as when it concludes. The outcome of the investigation into the alleged wrongdoing is not relevant. See particularly Great Falls Tribune v. Cascade County Sheriff, 238 Mont. 103, 775 P.2d 1267 (1989); Citizens to Recall Whitlock v. Whitlock, 255 Mont. 517, 844 P.2d 74 (1992); Bozeman Daily Chronicle v. City of Bozeman Police Dept., 260 Mont. 218, 859 P.2d 435 (1993). In each of cases, the court found that the individual officer, public employee or elected official has very little expectation of privacy, and the public has a fundamental right to know what public employees are doing. However, in Billings Gazette v. City of Billings, 313 P.3d 129 (2013) the Court declined to apply the public trust doctrine to mid to low level employees.
Exempt. RSA 91-A:5,IV exempts records pertaining to “internal personnel practices.” See Hounsell v. North Conway Water Precinct, 154 N.H. 1 (2006); Union Leader Corp. v. Fenniman, 136 N.H. 624 (1993)). The Supreme Court has clarified that any records regarding internal personnel practices are exempt, but this exemption does not apply to investigations conducted by external agency, which does not have authority to hire or fire. Reid v. New Hampshire Attorney Gen., 169 N.H. 509 (2016).
A “government record” does not include, “information concerning student records or grievance or disciplinary proceedings against a student to the extent disclosure would reveal the identity of the student.” N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1.
N.J.S.A. 47:1A-10 provides:
Notwithstanding the provisions of P.L. 1963, c. 73 (C. 47:1A-1 et seq.) or any other law to the contrary, the personnel or pension records of any individual in the possession of a public agency, including but not limited to records relating to any grievance filed by or against an individual, shall not be considered a government record and shall not be made available for public access, except that:
an individual’s name, title, position, salary, payroll record, length of service, date of separation and the reason therefor, and the amount and type of any pension received shall be a government record;
personnel or pension records of any individual shall be accessible when required to be disclosed by another law, when disclosure is essential to the performance of official duties of a person duly authorized by this State or the United States, or when authorized by an individual in interest; and
data contained in information which disclose conformity with specific experiential, educational or medical qualifications required for government employment or for receipt of a public pension, but not including any detailed medical or psychological information, shall be a government record.
Libertarians for Transparent Government v. Cumberland County, 465 N.J. Super. 11 (App. Div. 2020)
The Appellate Division held that a settlement agreement between the county and a former county employee resolving a preliminary notice of disciplinary action against the employee was not a "government record" under OPRA because the settlement agreement resolved an internal disciplinary action, involving the employee's improper fraternization with female inmates, and, as such, was a "personnel record" exempt from disclosure under N.J.S.A. § 47:1A-10.
(Note: Case was heard by NJ Supreme Court on 9/14/21 – awaiting decision).
Gannett Satellite Info. Network, LLC v. Twp. of Neptune, 467 N.J. Super. 385 (App. Div. 2021)
This litigation involves a newspaper’s request, under both OPRA and the common law, for internal affairs records of a former Township of Neptune Police Sergeant. The trial court determined that the newspaper was not entitled to access under OPRA, but was entitled to the records, as well as counsel fees, under the common law. The Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the records were accessible under the common law but reversed the award of counsel fees, although the Court acknowledged that counsel fees are available under the common law. The Appellate Division also affirmed the trial court’s determination that the records were not accessible under OPRA.
(Note: Gannett filed a Petition for Certification to the New Jersey Supreme Court on the denial of fees under the common law and the denial of access under OPRA. It is currently awaiting a decision on same).
Insofar as disciplinary records contain “letters or memorandums that are matters of opinion,” they do not constitute public records. See NMSA 1978 § 14-2-1(C). The question as to whether final disciplinary records are public is likely to be resolved by future litigation.
LaRocca v. Board of Education, 159 Misc.2d 90, 602 N.Y.S.2d 1009 (Sup. Ct. Nassau Cty. 1993) (denying access to records relating to settlement of a disciplinary matter as protected by Education Law § 3020-a, 8 N.Y.C.R.R. Part 82.9; finding such documents to constitute employment records the release of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy), modified, 220 A.D.2d 424, 632 N.Y.S.2d 576 (2d Dep’t 1995) (holding that agency must release those portions of documents that do not constitute an “employment history” and ordering disclosure of redacted settlement agreement).
Hickman v. Board of Education, No. 4379 (Sup. Ct., Suffolk Cty., Aug. 5, 1987) (granting access to letter of resignation of internal auditor); Village Times v. Three Village Cent. Sch. Dist., No. 20325-83 (Sup. Ct., Suffolk Cty., March 21, 1984) (granting access to a stipulation of settlement in teacher disciplinary proceedings, with the name of teacher redacted to prevent an unwarranted invasion of privacy); Herald Co. v. Sch. District, 104 Misc.2d 1041, 430 N.Y.S.2d 460 (Sup. Ct. 1980) (denying access to name and unproven charges against tenured teacher on basis of interagency exemption and Education Law § 3020-a); Blecher v. Board of Education, N.Y.L.J., Oct. 25, 1979 (Sup. Ct., Kings Cty., 1979) (granting access to complaints, reprimands and evaluations contained in personnel file as “final determinations”); Mulgrew v. Board of Educ. of City Sch. Dist. of City of New York, 31 Misc.3d 296, 919 N.Y.S.2d 786 (Sup. Ct. 2011) (rejecting a claim that releasing the names of public school teachers in Teacher Data Reports are an invasion of privacy because their release rationally balanced in the public interest)
Law enforcement personnel.
Matter of Luongo v. Records Access Officer, Civilian Complaint Review Bd., 150 A.D.3d 13, 51 N.Y.S.3d 46 (1st Dep’t 2017) (finding that gravity of threats against officer demonstrate that disclosure of records “carries a ‘substantial and realistic potential’ for harm, particularly in the form of ‘harassment and reprisals,’ and that nondisclosure of the requested records under Civil Rights Law § 50-a is warranted”).
Daily Gazette Co. v. City of Schenectady, 93 N.Y.2d 145, 688 N.Y.S.2d 472 (1999) (held disciplinary records pertaining to off-duty misconduct involving 18 police offers are exempt from disclosure as personnel records pursuant to Civil Rights Law § 50-a); Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York v. Dep’t of Correctional Services, 73 N.Y.2d 26, 538 N.Y.S.2d 190, 535 N.E.2d 243 (1988) (denying access to inmate grievances against correction officers and the administrative decisions relating thereto as exempt personnel records); O’Shaughnessy v. New York State Division of State Police, 202 A.D.2d 508 (2d Dep’t 1994) (denying access to request for records relating to his application for and subsequent denial to position of state trooper consisting of opinions, advise, evaluations, conclusions or recommendations); Obiajulu v. City of Rochester, 213 A.D.2d 1055, 625 N.Y.S.2d 779 (4th Dep’t 1995) (holding that disclosure of performance evaluations and appraisals do not constitute an invasion of privacy when identifying details are deleted; disciplinary charges, the agency determination of those charges, and the penalties imposed are not exempt from disclosure); Prisoners’ Legal Services v. New York State Dep’t Correctional Services, 138 A.D.2d 712, 526 N.Y.S.2d 526, 73 N.Y.2d 26 (1988) (2d Dep’t 1988) (denying access to grievance and disciplinary records of correction officer under Civil Rights Law § 50-a); Lyon v. Dunne, 180 A.D.2d 922, 580 N.Y.S.2d 803, (3d Dep’t 1992), motion for leave to appeal denied, 79 N.Y.2d 758 (1992) (denying access to complaints, reprimands and incidents of misconduct of police officers as records used to evaluate performance toward continued employment which are exempt under Civil Rights law § 50-a); Newsday v. New York City Police Dep’t, 133 A.D.2d 4, 518 N.Y.S.2d 966 (1st Dep’t 1987) (denying access to records of firearms discharge as intra-agency materials); Mooney v. State Police, 117 A.D.2d 445, 502 N.Y.S.2d 828 (3d Dep’t 1986) (granting access to investigative reports and discharge documents); Gannett Co. v. James, 86 A.D.2d 744, 447 N.Y.S.2d 781 (4th Dep’t 1982), appeal dismissed, 56 N.Y.2d 502, 435 N.E.2d 1099, 450 N.Y.S.2d 1023 (1982) (denying access to complaints and records of disciplinary action taken against police officers on basis that such records are part of personnel records and thus confidential under Civil Rights Law § 50-a; complaints also exempt as they might interfere with law enforcement investigations or identify a confidential source; use of force forms, while not personnel records, held exempt from disclosure as intra-agency materials); Sinicropi v. Cty. of Nassau, 76 A.D.2d 832, 428 N.Y.S.2d 312 (2d Dep’t 1980), appeal denied, 51 N.Y.2d 704, 411 N.E.2d 797, 432 N.Y.S.2d 1028 (1980) (denying access, on intra-agency ground, to materials prepared for disciplinary hearing of probation officer); Walker v. City of New York, 64 A.D.2d 980, 408 N.Y.S.2d 811 (2d Dep’t 1978) (granting access to complaints and investigations of police officer); Gannett Co. v. Riley, 161 Misc.2d 321, 613 N.Y.S.2d 559 (Sup. Ct. Monroe Cty. 1994) (denying access to internal investigation and report of disturbance at county jail as personnel records exempt from disclosure under Civil Rights Law § 50-a; redacting the names is not sufficient to protect the confidentiality of records otherwise exempt under § 50-a); Town of Woodstock v. Goodson-Todman Enterprises, 133 Misc.2d 12, 505 N.Y.S.2d 540 (Sup.Ct. 1986) (granting access to records on discipline of constables, rejecting claim of exemption based on Civil Rights Law § 50-a); Petix v. Connelie, 99 Misc.2d 343, 416 N.Y.S.2d 167 (Sup. Ct. 1979) (denying access to records of internal investigation of state policeman in a case where no charges were preferred); People v. Morales, 97 Misc.2d 733, 412 N.Y.S.2d 310 (Crim. Ct. 1979) (denying access to records of Civilian Complaint Review Board as intra-agency records and on basis of Civil Rights Law § 50-a, and ordering in camera review); People v. Pack, N.Y.L.J., April 27, 1978 (Crim. Ct., New York Cty., 1978) (denying access to police personnel records on basis of Civil Rights Law § 50-a, but granting access to records of Civilian Complaint Review Board); Montes v. State, 94 Misc.2d 972, 406 N.Y.S.2d 664 (Ct. Cl. 1978) (granting access to personnel records of parole officer to obtain information on complaints and incidents in false arrest case); In Re Carnevale, 68 A.D.3d 1290, 891 N.Y.S.2d 495 (3d Dep’t 2009) (documents containing statements of police officers given to investigative body to determine whether discipline against officers was warranted were properly withheld as personal records of a law enforcement agency under Civil Rights Law § 50-a); Capital Newspapers Div. of Hearst Corp. v. City of Albany, 63 A.D.3d 1336, 881 N.Y.S.2d 214 (3d Dep’t 2009) (“gun tags” identifying officers involved in a police scandal fell within personnel records under Civil Rights Law § 50-a and were therefore exempt under a specific state or federal statute. However, the court ordered the “gun tags” disclosed with identifying information redacted).
Health care personnel.
John P. v. Whalen, 54 N.Y.2d 89, 429 N.E.2d 117, 444 N.Y.S.2d 598 (1981) (denying access to patient records and patient and doctor interviews compiled by State Board for Professional Misconduct during investigation; information confidential by Public Health Law); Miller v. Dep’t of Health, 91 A.D.2d 975, 457 N.Y.S.2d 564 (2d Dep’t 1983) (denying access to records of a patient abuse investigation of a nursing home under Public Health Law § 2803-d as well as other FOIL exemptions); Marshall v. State Bd. for Professional Medical Conduct, 73 AD.2d 798, 423 N.Y.S.2d 721 (4th Dep’t 1979), appeal denied, 49 N.Y.2d 709, 406 N.E.2d 1354, 429 N.Y.S.2d 1026 (1980) (denying access to information giving rise to professional misconduct charges against psychiatrist).
Wilson v. Town of Islip, 179 A.D.2d 763, 578 N.Y.S.2d 642 (2d Dep’t 1992) (granting access to portion of Homestead Program application to show whether applicants are past or present employees of town); Buffalo News v. Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, 163 A.D.2d 830; 558 N.Y.S.2d 364 (4th Dep’t 1990) (granting access to housing authority disciplinary records); Rome Sentinel Company v. City of Rome, 145 Misc.2d 183, 546 N.Y.S.2d 304 (Sup. Ct. 1989) (granting disclosure of final determination of fireman’s suspension hearing, but denying access to documents which contain allegations, complaints, or witness names); Willson v. Washburn (Sup. Ct., Oneida Cty. November 18, 1993) (granting access to requester’s own personnel file); Geneva Printing v. Village of Lyons, No. 18713 (Sup. Ct., Wayne Cty., March 25, 1981) (granting access to confidential settlement of disciplinary action against village employee).
Partially public. The date and type of each promotion, demotion, transfer, suspension, separation, or other change in position classification is public. The date and type of each dismissal, suspension, or demotion for disciplinary reasons is public, and if the disciplinary action was a dismissal, a copy of the written notice of the final decision of the head of the department setting forth the specific acts or omissions that are the basis of the dismissal is public.
A record reflecting a final disciplinary action resulting in loss of pay, suspension, demotion of position, or termination is a public record. 51 O.S. § 24A.7(B)(4). The Oklahoma Attorney General has determined that “[a] public body may keep confidential a record indicating the name of an employee who has been placed on administrative leave with pay if, under the personnel policies of the public body, the action constitutes neither a ‘final’ or ‘disciplinary’ action, nor a ‘final disciplinary action resulting in loss of pay, suspension, demotion of position, or termination.’” 2009 OK AG 33 (quoting 51 O.S. § 24A.7(B)). The Attorney General has also stated that “a licensing board’s disciplinary files, subject to limited exceptions, are treated as public records.” 2017 OK AG 12, ¶ 7.
ORS 192.345(12) (formerly ORS 192.501(12)) conditionally exempts “[a] personnel discipline action, or materials or documents supporting that action,” but is limited to completed disciplinary actions where a sanction is imposed. City of Portland v. Rice, 308 Or. 118, 123, 775 P.2d 1371, 1374 (1989). Disciplinary records of former teachers are subject to disclosure under ORS 339.388.
Disciplinary records are not publicly available unless included in a “final action” resulting in “demotion or discharge.” 65 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 67.708(b)(7)(viii).
Employee disciplinary records are subject to the standard set forth in R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-2(4)(A)(I)(b).
Disciplinary records are available for inspection and copying. Columbia v. A.C.L.U. of S.C., 475 S.E.2d 747 (S.C. 1996); Burton v. York County Sheriff, 594 S.E.2d 888 (S.C. App. 2004)
Presumably closed. SDCL §1-27-1.5 (7).
Disciplinary records are generally not exempt from disclosure unless they are confidential under other law or statute. See Tex. Att'y Gen. ORD-470 (1987) (stating public employee's job performance records do not generally constitute employee's private affairs and, thus, is subject to disclosure); Tex. Att'y Gen. ORD-455 (1987) (stating that a public employee's job preferences or abilities are generally not protected by his right to privacy); Tex. Att'y Gen. ORD-423 (1984) (ruling that the release of a public employee's picture after his arrest for sexual assault is allowed because the public interest outweighs the highly embarrassing nature of the picture).
Disciplinary records of a police officer working in a civil service city which are maintained in the police officer's civil service file are not exempt. Tex. Loc. Gov't Code. § 143.089.
Records maintained in an internal police department file that reasonably relates to a police officer's employment relationship with the police department is confidential and must not be released but information not reasonably related to the individual's employment relationship remains subject to disclosure. Tex. Loc. Gov't Code. § 143.089(g); City of San Antonio v. San Antonio Express News, 47 S.W.3d 556, 563 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2000, pet. denied); City of San Antonio v. Tex. Attorney General, 851 S.W.2d 946, 949 (Tex. App.—Austin 1993, writ denied) (“[A]llegations of misconduct made against a police officer shall not be subject to compelled disclosure under the Act unless they have been substantiated and resulted in disciplinary action.”).
Records relating to formal charges or disciplinary actions against a past or present government employee are generally public if the disciplinary action has been completed and the charges have been sustained. Utah Code § 63G-2-301(3)(o); see also Atkinson v. City of West Jordan, No. 99-13 (Utah State Rec. Comm. Nov. 15, 1999) (determining that an investigative report “regarding allegations of impropriety brought against Mr. Atkinson by a co-employee” was public). Judicial disciplinary records are closed to the public until the Utah Supreme Court has entered its final order, except: (a) “upon order of the [Utah] Supreme Court”; (b) “upon the request of the judge who is the subject of the complaint”; (c) upon the request of the Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee for the purpose of evaluating a candidate’s fitness for office; (d) “to aid in a criminal investigation or prosecution”; or (e) upon the request of the Office of Legislative Auditor General, with certain exceptions. Utah Code § 78A-11-112(3).
“Personal documents relating to an individual, including information in any files maintained to hire, evaluate, promote, or discipline any employee of a public agency” are exempt from disclosure. 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(7). However, “all information in personnel files of an individual employee of any public agency shall be made available to that individual employee or his or her designated representative.” Id.
Release of records related to teacher certification revocations, particularly as they pertain to teachers' sexual misconduct with students, does not violate the teachers' right to privacy. Brouillet v. Cowles Publ'g Co., 114 Wn.2d 788, 791 P.2d 526 (1990). However, disclosure of the identity of a teacher accused of sexual misconduct violates the teacher’s right to privacy under the statute if the allegation is not substantiated. Bellevue John Does 1-11 v. Bellevue Sch. Dist. #405, 164 Wn.2d 199, 189 P.3d 139 (2008). Disclosure of the mere fact that a public employer is investigating a public employee, or that the employee is on administrative leave, does not violate the employee’s right to privacy. Predisik v. Spokane Sch. Dist. No. 81, 182 Wash.2d 896, 346 P.3d 737 (2015).
Disclosure of employee performance evaluations, which do not discuss any specific instances of misconduct or the performance of public duties, is presumptively highly offensive to a reasonable person and not of legitimate public concern, and thus violative of the employee’s privacy rights and exempt. Dawson v. Daly, 120 Wn.2d 782, 797, 845 P.2d 995 (1993). Beltran v. DSHS, 98 Wn. App. 245, 989 P.2d 604 (1999). However, evaluations of high level employees, such as city manager, have more significant public interest and may not be exempt under Dawson. See Spokane Research v. City of Spokane, 99 Wn. App. 452, 994 P.2d 267 (2000). A discharged school employee can obtain performance evaluations of other employees; however, the names of coworkers will be redacted unless there is a specific showing that the right to privacy should not apply. Ollie v. Highland Sch. Dist., 50 Wn. App. 639, 749 P.2d 757 (1988).
(This section is blank. See the point above.)
Disciplinary records are available for public inspection, subject to the balancing test, once the investigation is closed. Wis. Stat. § 19.36(10)(b); see Hagen v. Bd. of Regents, 2018 WI App 43, 383 Wis. 2d 567, 916 N.W.2d 198 (records concerning closed investigation into complaint against university professor open for inspection).