Posted on Nov 15, 2004 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 04-18
November 15, 2004
Transcript of Administrative Hearing Protected by Confidentiality Statute

The UIPA authorizes agencies to withhold access to government records when a confidentiality statute explicitly restricts access to those records. Section 383-95(a), HRS, requires that information concerning unemployment compensation determinations be confidential and only made available as necessary to process a particular claim.

After an unemployment compensation hearing is concluded and where neither the claimant, the employer, nor the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations seeks to appeal within the statutory time limit, the transcript of the hearing is no longer necessary to process a particular claim. Therefore, according to section 383-95(a), HRS, the transcript is confidential.

Moreover, section 92F-4, HRS, waives compliance with the UIPA when compliance would cause an agency to lose or be denied funding, services, or other assistance from the federal government. In order for states to be certified to receive payment from the United States Department of Labor, federal law requires that the states adopt laws that provide for methods of administration determined by the Secretary of Labor to be reasonably calculated to insure full payment of unemployment compensation when due. This requirement has been interpreted by the Secretary of Labor to require confidentiality of unemployment compensation information.

Accordingly, the transcript of the hearing is not required to be disclosed as the time for appeal has passed, and the provisions of the UIPA are waived to the extent necessary to protect eligibility for federal funding.

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