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Release of employee records held not to invade privacy

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  1. Freedom of Information
Release of employee records held not to invade privacy05/06/96 NEW YORK--A group of female employees claiming New York's Division of…

Release of employee records held not to invade privacy

05/06/96

NEW YORK–A group of female employees claiming New York’s Division of State Police sexually discriminated against them will be allowed to see the agency’s records pertaining to the education of civilian employees, but a state appeals court in Elmira in late April denied the women access to the performance evaluation records of state officers.

The ruling stemmed from a Freedom of Information request submitted to the New York Division of State Police on behalf of the women in April 1993.

The female employees had sought a gender-based comparison of test scores on performance and promotional examinations, station assignment records, educational records of civilian employees, sex-discrimination or other personnel complaint records, and any records of court findings regarding such complaints.

The lower court denied all of the requested records on various grounds.

Judge Bruce Crew III reversed that decision in part, holding that disclosure of records pertaining to employee education did not, as the state asserted, constitute an “unwarranted invasion of privacy.” Nor could the state withhold records pertaining to court findings on discrimination complaints based on its asserted inability to easily retrieve such records.

The judge upheld the lower court’s determination that performance records constituted “personnel records” and were thus exempted from disclosure. Moreover, the appeals court agreed with the state that disclosure of assignment records might jeopardize officers’ safety and that such record might be withheld. (Ruberti v. New York State Div. of State Police; Plaintiffs’ Counsel: Michael Ruberti, Albany)