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3. Applications

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  • Alabama

    The following application records are open pursuant to case law and Alabama attorney general opinion authority:

    a. Applications and resumes for county water and sewer coordinator, Chambers v. Birmingham News Co., 552 So. 2d 854 (Ala. 1989).

    b. Resumes of applicants for county administrator’s position. 221 Op. Att’y Gen. Ala. 24 (Oct. 24, 1990).

    c. Names and resumes of applicants for executive director of industrial development authority. 222 Op. Att’y Gen. Ala. 48 (Mar. 20, 1991).

    d. Biographical information from independent agency regarding applicants for executive director of industrial development authority. 223 Op. Att’y Gen. Ala. 19 (May 17, 1991).

    e. Application for licensure as a nursing home administrator, including education, past employment history, and previous licensure. 226 Op. Att’y Gen. Ala. 15 (Jan. 15, 1992).

    One trial court refused to order disclosure of personnel information in the following case: Identity of applicants for president of State university who were interviewed by a search committee that contained no university board members and that made no narrowing of applicants. Birmingham News Co. v. Bartlett, CV 88-504-403 MC (Cir. Ct. of Jefferson County, Ala., Equity Div., Nov. 15, 1988). Additionally, in Tuscaloosa News v. Garrison, No. CV-1999-408 (Cir. Ct. of Tuscaloosa County, Ala., May 31, 2000), the trial court delayed ruling on whether resumes of applicants to the city school board had been submitted under a promise of confidentiality, indicating that those resumes would not be subject to disclosure.

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  • Alaska

    The state public records act contains no exception for job applications, so they would be presumptively open, like all other public records.  However, the public records act exempts from its disclosure requirements documents made non-disclosable by other statutes.  At least one statute exempts employment applications for certain state jobs, as discussed more fully in section II.B(28), makes employment applications and examination materials confidential, except as to the following information: 1) the names and position titles of all state employees; 2) the position held by a state employee; 3) prior positions held by a state employee; 4) whether a state employee is in the classified, partially exempt or exempt service; 5) the dates of appointment and separation of a state employee; and 6) the compensation authorized for a state employee.  Supreme Court rulings in cases involving public records suggest support for provisions precluding access to employment applications and examination materials that constitute intimate details about work history.  Jones v. Jennings, 788 P.2d 732, 738 (Alaska 1990), cited in Alaska Wildlife Alliance v. Rue, 948 P.2d 976, 980 (Alaska 1997).

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  • Arizona

    In Bolm v. Custodian of Records of Tucson Police Dep’t, the court held that the police department’s disclosure of hiring and official records was proper. 193 Ariz. 35, 969 P.2d 200 (Ct. App. 1998).

    For multiple professional groups, the law provides that application information in a state board’s possession cannot be revealed. See, e.g., A.R.S. § 32-129(A) (architects), A.R.S. § 32-825(F) (podiatrists), A.R.S. § 32-1209 (dentists), A.R.S. § 32-1310(A) (embalmers), A.R.S. § 32-1746 (optometrists), A.R.S. § 32-2214(F) (veterinarians).

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  • Arkansas

    If the applicant is successful, his or her job application, resume, and related materials are clearly personnel records. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. Nos. 2005-004, 97-042, 96-190, 95-244, 95-113, 94-187. The same is true for applicants for promotion or for a different government position. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. Nos. 2005-004, 96-142, 88-133. Whether the records of unsuccessful job applicants are personnel records remains an open question. In the past, the Attorney General’s Office has taken the position that records of job applicants are not personnel records because potential employees are not personnel. E.g., Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. Nos. 98-102, 90-248. More recent opinions, however, treat the question as open. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. Nos. 2008-039 2005-004 n.1, 99-002.

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  • California

    There is no express exemption from disclosure for job applications.  Disclosure of information as to education, training, experience, awards, previous positions and publications by the employee has been held to implicate no privacy or public policy exemption. Eskaton Monterey Hospital v. Myers, 134 Cal. App. 3d 788, 794, 184 Cal. Rptr. 840 (1982). Nevertheless, applications for public office have been denied under the exemption for correspondence to and from the Governor (Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(l); California First Amendment Coalition v. Superior Court, 67 Cal. App. 4th 159, 78 Cal. Rptr. 2d 847 (1998)), and under the deliberative process exemption/catchall exemption (Wilson v. Superior Court, 51 Cal. App. 4th 1136, 59 Cal. Rptr. 2d 537 (1996)).  Job applications and resumes of those actually chosen for the job, however, are not exempt from disclosure.

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  • Colorado

    Open. Expressly excluded from the "personnel files" exemption are "does not include applications of past or current employees." Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-72-202(4.5).

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  • Connecticut

    There are no provisions regarding job applications 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 Records Outline at II.A.2.b; see also Kureczka v. FOIC, 228 Conn. 271, 636 A.2 777 (1994) and Mozzochi v. Town of Glastonbury, Do. #FIC 86-253 (Dec. 16, 1986) (job applications are disclosable with certain information masked out to protect applicant's privacy).

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  • Delaware

    Employment applications are not public records as defined under the Act. 29 Del. C. § 10002(g)(6); Del. Op. Att'y Gen., No. 05-ib20 (July 27, 2005) (extending the right of privacy to "records relating to the job qualifications of applicants for public employment").

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  • District of Columbia

    Depending on the particular circumstances, an application could be public information within the meaning of D.C. Code § 2-536.  An application, for instance, might be the subject of a "final opinion[] . . . made in the adjudication of cases," D.C. Code § 2-536(a)(3), or "[c]orrespondence and materials referred to therein by and with a public body, relating to any regulatory, supervisory, or enforcement responsibilities of the public body," id. § 2-536(a)(5).  And "[a]ll pending applications for building permits and authorized building permits" automatically qualify as public records.  Id. § 2-536(a)(8A).

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  • Florida

    Applications for public employment fall within the purview of Chapter 119 and are thus subject to public inspection and examination. Op. Att’y Gen. Fla. 77-48 (May 19, 1977).

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  • Georgia

    Applications for public employment are subject to the Act’s disclosure requirements but special rules apply to applications to head an agency or to be president of a unit of the state university system.  The Act permits an agency to withhold records that would identify applicants for those positions.  O.C.G.A. § 50-18-72(a)(11). However, at least 14 calendar days prior to the meeting at which final action or vote is to be taken on the position of executive head of an agency or five business days prior to the meeting at which final action or vote is to be taken on the position of president of a unit of the University System of Georgia, all documents concerning as many as three persons under consideration whom the agency has determined to be the best qualified for the position shall be subject to inspection and copying.  Prior to the release of these documents, an agency may allow such a person to decline being considered further for the position rather than have documents pertaining to such person released.  In that event, the agency shall release the documents of the next most qualified person under consideration who does not decline the position.  If an agency has conducted its hiring or appointment process without conducting interviews or discussing or deliberating in executive session in a manner otherwise consistent with the Open Meetings Act, it shall not be required to delay final action on the position.  The agency shall not be required to release such records of other applicants or persons under consideration, except at the request of any such person.  Upon request, the hiring agency shall furnish the number of applicants and the composition of the list by such factors as race and sex.  The agency shall not be allowed to avoid the provisions of this paragraph by the employment of a private person or agency to assist with the search or application process.  Id.

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  • Hawaii

    Generally, an individual has a significant privacy interest in the information in his or her application for employment in a governmental position. See Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-14(b)(4). As such, OIP has determined that individually identifiable information about unsuccessful employment applicants, including their applications and exam scores, must be kept confidential because this information is protected by the exception to disclosure for “[g]overnment records which, if disclosed, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-13(1); see also Executive Search Committee Report, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 89-2 (Oct. 27, 1989) (names of individuals recommended for selection in executive search report but who were not ultimately appointed to position); Certified List of Eligibles OIP Op. Ltr. No. 90-14 (Mar. 30, 1990) (identity of individuals on certified list of eligible appointees who were not appointed); Names of Nominees For Boards and Commissions, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 91-8 (June 24, 1991) (commission and board applications). The “frustration of a legitimate government function” exception may also be invoked to withhold the names of individuals who are eligible for appointment to a governmental position but ultimately not appointed. See Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-13(3); Certified List of Eligibles OIP Op. Ltr. No. 90-14 (Mar. 30, 1990). However, certain information on an application form that would not result in the “likelihood of actual identification” must be made available for public inspection. See Job Eligibles List and Unsuccessful Job Applicants Information, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 95-2 (Jan. 19, 1995).

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  • Idaho

    Public employee applicants are specifically addressed, and have the same rights as public employees, within the personnel records exemption contained in Idaho Code § 74-106.

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  • Illinois

    The name of an unsuccessful applicant to public employment is likely closed. See Public Access Opinion 11-003, at pp. 13-19 (available at http://foia.ilattorneygeneral.net/pdf/opinions/2011/11-003.pdf) (opining that disclosure of names of unsuccessful applicants would amount to an invasion of privacy pursuant to 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(c).)  Public Access Opinion 11-003 also concluded that the names of the unsuccessful applicants’ current employers should be closed for privacy reasons.  On the other hand, information regarding a public body’s expenses incurred in process of evaluating applicants—such as fees for services assessed by a private search firm or interviewees’ plane tickets paid for by the public body—should be released. See Public Access Opinion 11-003, at pp. 17-19.

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  • Indiana

    Access to the files of applicants for public employment may be provided or denied at the discretion of the public agency. Ind. Code § 5-14-3-4(b)(8); see S. Bend Tribune v. S. Bend Cmty. Sch. Corp., 740 N.E.2d 937, 938–39 (Ind. Ct. App. 2000) (holding that information regarding candidates for the Superintendent fell within this exception).

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  • Iowa

    Iowa Code § 22.7(11)(a) prevents from disclosure “[p]ersonal information in confidential personnel records of government bodies relating to identified or identifiable individuals who are officials, officers, or employees of the government bodies . . . .” (2018).

    In City of Dubuque v. Telegraph Herald, Inc., the Iowa Supreme Court held that applications are not personnel records. 297 N.W.2d 523 (Iowa 1980). Additionally, applications for employment with a governmental entity may be subject to disclosure, even when confidentiality is requested by the applicant. See id. at 527­-29 (acknowledging that even though the applicants requested confidentiality, there was no “pledge” of confidentiality and thus disclosure was not prohibited). Further, even if a governmental entity does pledge confidentiality, that may not be enough to prevent disclosure. Id. at 528 (relying upon numerous federal court cases finding a pledge of confidentiality is not sufficient to prevent disclosure). The court ruled that “personal information” did not categorically mean information “customarily kept confidential in private business.” Id.

    The Iowa Supreme Court subsequently ruled that employment applications for a position with a governmental entity must be kept confidential unless applicants consented to public disclosure, following the passing of Iowa Code § 22.7(18) in 1985. City of Sioux City v. Greater Sioux City Press Club, 421 N.W.2d 895, 897 (Iowa 1988). This provision prevents from disclosure

    [c]ommunications not required by law, rule, procedure, or contract that are made to a government body or to any of its employees by identified persons outside of government could reasonably believe that those persons would be discouraged from making them to that government body if they were available for public examination.

    Iowa Code § 22.7(18) (2018). The provision further provides that these communications are public records “to the extent that the person outside of government making that communication consent to its treatment as a public record.” Id. In City of Sioux City v. Greater Sioux City Press Club, 37 applicants indicated they did not desire public disclosure of their applications. 421 N.W.2d at 897. The court ruled that the legislature, in enacting this provision, intended to include solicited communications such as employment applications. Id.  at 898. The court agreed with the City’s argument that requiring disclosure of employment applications could deter applicants from applying. Id. at 897. Employment applications to governmental entities submitted without authorization for disclosure may be kept confidential. Id. at 899.

    The Iowa Supreme Court affirmed this in Wings v. Dunlap by holding that confidential employment applications are not subject to disclosure. 527 N.W.2d 407, 410 (Iowa Ct. App. 1994).

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  • Kansas

    Letters of reference or recommendation are not open to the public. K.S.A. 45-221(a)(6).  Further, K.S.A. 45-221(a)(4) also allows a public agency to refuse to disclose records related to “applicants for employment.”  Moreover, in 2017, the Kansas Court of Appeals expanded this exemption to include the identities of those seeking elected public office.  Salina Journal, et al., v. Brownback, et al., Kansas Court of Appeals No. 115,194 (2017),

    The state Department of Social & Rehabilitation Services must give a union the addresses of employees. State Dep't of Soc. & Rehab. Servs. v. Pub. Emp. Relations Bd., 249 Kan. 163, 815 P.2d 66 (1991). Kan. Att’y Gen. Op. 1990-136 asserts that addresses are discretionarily closed by agency rule.

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  • Kentucky

    Open when the applicant is selected, but records related to the unsuccessful, unidentified job candidates may be subject to the personal privacy exemption of Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.878(1)(a). See 10-ORD-196, (a requester cannot get the application of unsuccessful, unidentified candidates for the position of district superintendent); see also 03-ORD-084, (application letter of an unsuccessful candidate to become the president of a university was open because his name had been disclosed and thus there was no longer a privacy interest).

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  • Louisiana

    The Supreme Court has ruled that applicants for public employment have no objectively reasonable expectation of privacy in their applications. Capital City Press v. East Baton Rouge Parish Metropolitan Council, 696 So. 2d 562 (La. 1997). See also Gannett River States Publishing v. Hussey, 557 So. 2d 1154 (La. App. 2d Cir.), writ denied, 561 So. 2d 103 (La. 1990) (although applicants for position of Chief of City Fire Department have an expectation of privacy in their names, the public's "right to know" outweighs that expectation and requires disclosure of the applications). However, disclosure was required only of the names of the three candidates for university president that were interviewed, not the 100 people who replied to the advertisement or the 35 who survived the initial review,  Capital City Press, LLC v. LSU Board of Supervisors, 168 So.3d 727 (La.App. 1st Cir. 2014).

    Applicants for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise status have no reasonable expectation of privacy for the forms filed pursuant to their application, but supplemental answers and material attached on separate sheets marked "Confidential" and attached tax returns are exempt and should be redacted prior to disclosure. Times-Picayune Publishing Corp. v. New Orleans Aviation Board, 745 So. 2d 1189 (La. App. 1st Cir.), writ denied, 751 So. 2d 257 (La. 1999). Education and employment history information are a matter of public record, but information concerning marital status and organizational memberships are exempt. Op. Att'y Gen. 83-648. Transcripts, medical records, and letters of recommendation are exempt. Op. Att'y Gen. 79-242.

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  • Maine

    Applications are confidential until the application is hired, at which point they become public records.  5 M.R.S.A. § 7070.  In general, the same rules apply to county employees (30-A M.R.S.A. § 503), municipal employees (30-A M.R.S.A. 2702), and school employees (20-A M.R.S.A. § 6101). However, certain personal contact information about public employees is confidential and should be redacted.  1 M.R.S.A. § 402(3)(O).

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  • Maryland

    Applications for employment can only be disclosed to the person in interest or to elected or appointed official who supervises the person in interest.  § 4-311(b).

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  • Massachusetts

    A blank application form would be a public record.  See Wakefield Teachers Ass’n, 431 Mass. at 800 (noting that a “generic job description or generic qualification requirement” that does not implicate any individual’s privacy is a public record).  An individual employee’s completed application is likely to be exempt.  Globe Newspaper Co. v. Boston Retirement Board, 388 Mass. 427, 435 (1983).

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  • Michigan

    See Landry v. City of Dearborn, 259 Mich. App. 416, 674 N.W. 2d 697 (2003) for analysis of whether the disclosure of employment applications is in the public interest.

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  • Minnesota

    Certain applicant data (with the exception of data from undercover law enforcement officer applicants) is public, including veteran status, relevant test scores, rank on eligible list, job history, education and training, and work availability. Minn. Stat. § 13.43, subd. 3. Individual applicant names are private data except when applicants are certified as eligible for appointment to a vacancy or when applicants are considered by the appointing authority to be finalists for a position in public employment. Id.

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  • Mississippi

    Depends on content.

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  • Montana

    No case law or statutory provisions on this issue. However, since an application for employment does not involve disclosure of intimate details which give rise to an expectation of privacy, they should be open.

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  • Nebraska

    Job application materials for persons who are finalists for employment by public bodies are public. Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-712.05(15). Job application materials of applicants for positions of CEO of the University of Nebraska and Chancellors of the four University campuses are not public. Id.

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  • Nevada

    Presumably open

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  • New Hampshire

    It depends on the nature of the position.  See, e.g., Lambert v. Belknap County Convention, 157 N.H. 375 (2008), holding that applications to be appointed to fill unexpired term of county sheriff, an elective office, are public.

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  • New Mexico

    Insofar as applications do not involve “matters of opinion,” do not contain “letters of reference concerning employment,” and do not divulge personally identifying information, they likely constitute public records.  See NMSA 1978 § 14-2-1(B)-(D).  See City of Farmington v. Daily Times, 2009-NMCA-57, 210 P.3d 246 (rev’d on other grounds) (requiring disclosure of applications of the position of city manager).

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  • New York

    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); 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, advice, evaluations, conclusions or recommendations); 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) (records used to evaluate performance toward continued employment of three state police officers were exempt from disclosure); Akras v. Suffolk Department of Civil Service, 137 A.D.2d 523, 524 N.Y.S.2d 266 (2d Dep’t 1988) (granting access to factual portions of records pertaining to application for reclassification of incumbent position); Public Education Ass’n v. Board of Examiners, 93 A.D.2d 838, 461 N.Y.S.2d 60 (2d Dep’t 1983) (denying access to studies of job analyses on basis of interagency exemption); Rainey v. Levitt, 138 Misc.2d 962, 525 N.Y.S.2d 551 (Sup. Ct. 1988) (granting access to examination grades of certain persons taking civil service exam for promotion to sergeant); Shaw v. Lerer, 112 Misc.2d 260, 446 N.Y.S.2d 885 (Sup. Ct. 1981) (denying access to rating sheets of hockey referee prepared by school coaches as interagency records); People v. Zanders, 95 Misc.2d 82, 407 N.Y.S.2d 410 (Sup. Ct. 1978) (granting access to those portions of personnel files of transit police officers which related to continued employment and promotion, after in camera review).

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  • North Carolina

    Not public records but public agency is not prohibited from releasing.

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  • North Dakota

    Generally open. See Forum Publ’g Co. v. City of Fargo, 391 N.W.2d 169 (N.D. 1986).

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  • Ohio

    The Supreme Court of Ohio has held that job application materials are public records. State ex rel. Consumer News Servs., Inc. v. Worthington City Bd. of Edn., 97 Ohio St.3d 58, 2002-Ohio-5311, ¶ 41 (“[t]he public has an unquestioned public interest in the qualifications of potential applicants for positions of authority in public employment.”); State ex rel. Gannett Satellite Information Network v. Shirey, 78 Ohio St.3d 400, 403 (1997); State ex rel. Beacon Journal Pub. Co. v. Akron Metro. Housing Auth., 42 Ohio St.3d 1, 535 N.E.2d 1366 (1989); State ex. Rel. The Plain Dealer Publishing Co. v. Cleveland, 75 Ohio St.3d 31, 661 N.E.2d 187 (1996) (holding that resumes of applicants for police chief were public records). But see State ex rel. Cincinnati Enquirer v. Cincinnati Bd. of Educ., 99 Ohio St. 3d 6, 788 N.E.2d 629 (2003) (holding that resumes that were returned to candidates immediately after interviews were not “kept” by the office and thus not public records).

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  • Oklahoma

    The application of a person who becomes a public official is a public record. 51 O.S. § 24A.7.B.1.

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  • Oregon

    Applications may be exempt under various exemptions for personal privacy and medical information, ORS 192.355(2) (former ORS 192.502(2)); personal financial information, Public Records Order, January 2, 1985 (Snell); the address or telephone number of an employee, ORS 192.355(3) (former ORS 192.502(3)); information submitted in confidence, ORS 192.355(4) (formerly ORS 192.502(4)); and other personal information.

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  • Pennsylvania

    Not publicly available under 708(b)(7)(iv) for individuals who have not been hired by the agency.

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  • Rhode Island

    Records maintained in connection with hiring of employees are subject to the standard set forth in R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-2(4)(A)(I)(b).

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  • South Carolina

    Information collected in a search to fill a position may be withheld, but information gathered with respect to “not fewer than the final three applicants under consideration” must be made available in response to a written request. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-40(a)(13); New York Times Co. v. Spartanburg County School Dist. No. 7, 649 S.E.2d 28 (S.C. 2007).

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  • South Dakota

    Closed, except for those “submitted by individuals hired into executive or policymaking positions of any public body.” SDCL §1-27-1.5 (15).

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  • Texas

    Information in applications for employment are usually not exempt from disclosure as they generally contain the names and qualifications of the candidates the disclosure of which would not constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy. Hubert., 652 S.W.2d  at 551-52. (holding that names and qualifications of candidates for office of university president were not exempt from disclosure); Tex. Att'y Gen. ORD-277 (1981) (stating that information on qualifications of applicants for commissioner of the Texas Board of Human Resources not exempt from disclosure); Tex. Att'y Gen. ORD-316 (1982) (stating that questionnaires from character references in a policeman's personnel file did not contain information considered to be intimate or embarrassing and thus were not exempt from disclosure).

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  • Utah

    a. “[E]mployment records concerning a current or former employee of, or applicant for employment with, a governmental entity that would disclose that individual’s home address, home telephone number, social security number, insurance coverage, marital status, or payroll deductions” are private. Utah Code § 63G-2-302(1)(g).

    b. In 1994, The Daily Herald filed a lawsuit against Orem City for refusing to release the names, resumes, and professional qualifications of the four finalists for the position of Orem City manager. On September 23, 1996, a Fourth District judge ruled that “the records for which disclosure was sought, though private, are records as to which there is a greater public interest in disclosure than Orem’s interest in protecting them from disclosure.” Scripps League Newspapers v. City of Orem, No. 940400646 CN, at 17 (Utah 4th Dist. Sept. 23, 1996).

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  • Vermont

    “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.

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  • Virginia

    Applications submitted by persons who are appointed by the Governor pursuant to § 2.2-106 or 2.2-107 are subject to the Act. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3705.1.

    Applications for admission to examinations or for licensure of professions regulated by the Department of Health Professions are excluded.  Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3705.5.2.

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  • Washington

    Applications for public employment are exempt from disclosure. RCW 42.56.250(2).

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  • West Virginia

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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  • Wisconsin

    The identity of an applicant for appointment to a non-classified position is not subject to inspection, if the applicant so requests in writing, unless the applicant becomes one of the final candidates for that position. Wis. Stat. § 19.36(7).

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  • Wyoming

    Confidential. However, other records related to employment searches, such as itineraries, are not confidential, except for records of searches for university or college presidents are expressly confidential under the Act if disclosure would be contrary to the public interest.

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