Posted on Dec 3, 2010 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 10-05
December 3, 2010
Workers’ Compensation Records

Requester asked OIP whether the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) properly denied Requester’s request for workers’ compensation records under part II of the UIPA.

As part of its investigation of a current workers’ compensation claim, Requester sought to learn whether the claimant had made workers’ compensation claims in the past, as well as some basic information about any such claims (the date of the accident, the claim number, the insurance carrier, the employer, and the body part injured).

The individual in question was a private sector employee. Although the request was related to a current workers’ compensation claim, Requester did not obtain a written consent to disclosure from the individual whose information was requested.

DLIR denied the request based on the lack of written consent and the claimant’s privacy interest, and subsequently clarified that the denial relied on the UIPA’s privacy exception, HRS § 92F-13(1), HRS.

OIP addressed the question of whether workers’ compensation claim information identifying a private sector claimant (with the exception of final decisions) is public under the UIPA. OIP found that this information is not public.

With the exception of disputed claims on which a final decision has been issued, an individual has a significant privacy interest in the fact that he or she has filed a workers’ compensation claim. See HRS §§ 92F-13(1) and -14.

For private sector employees, the public interest in an individual’s claim is minimal and does not outweigh that significant privacy interest. Thus, DLIR properly withheld the workers’ compensation claim information under the UIPA’s privacy exception.

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