U Memo 19-2

Posted on Aug 31, 2018 in Informal Opinions - UIPA Opinions

U Memo 19-2
August 31, 2018
Employee Names

In U-Memo 19-2, OIP determined that the names and respective job titles of government employees is always public under section 92F-12(a)(14), HRS, even if the County had previously disclosed exact salaries, rather than salary ranges, so that the requester could ascertain the exact salary of the identified bargaining unit employees.

Section 92F-12(a)(14), HRS, requires that certain information about Hawaii State employees and those of the various counties is automatically public, including the name, compensation (but only the salary range for employees covered by or included in chapter 76, and sections 302A-602 to 302A-640, and 302A-701, or bargaining unit (8)), and job title.  Requester made a record request to the Hawaii County Department of Human Resources (HR-H) for the names, compensation, and job titles of all full-time County employees.

HR-H explained that, for some bargaining unit 1 and 11 employees covered by or included in chapter 76, HRS (Hawaii’s civil service law), there was no true salary range corresponding to those positions, but only one exact salary for each pay range.  Therefore, in its response as to those specific employees, HR-H disclosed each employee’s job title and exact salary without the employee’s name.  Specifically, Hawaii County’s Public Workers bargaining unit 1 and Hawaii Fire Fighters Association bargaining unit 11 employees are covered by chapter 76, HRS, but for some employees, there is only one salary for a particular pay range.  Thus, only the exact salaries and not the employee names were disclosed because HR-H believed disclosure of both would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of the employees in those positions.

Requester thereafter made a second record request to HR-H for the names and respective job titles of all Hawaii County employees who filled the 96 positions on the list provided by Requester as an attachment to his record request, including those in bargaining units 1 and 11.  HR-H denied access on the basis that sections 92F-12(a)(14), 92F‑13(1), and 92F‑14(b)(6), HRS, allowed it to withhold access.

OIP recognized that the identities and exact salaries of certain covered employees can be easily determined if Requester’s second request is granted.  Requester need only to compare the information from his first request to the information from his second request.  However, there is no language in the UIPA that prohibits disclosure of names and job title that are required to be public under section 92F‑12(a)(14), HRS, in circumstances when that information might be used in combination with a salary schedule to learn the employee’s exact salary.

In addition, OIP found that HR-H’s reliance on other sections of the UIPA as allowing it to withhold access to the names of persons in bargaining units 1 and 11 was misplaced because the information sought by Requester, i.e., the names and respective job titles of specified Hawaii County employees, is always public under section 92F-12(a)(14), HRS, any other provision of the UIPA notwithstanding.  The fact that HR-H previously disclosed exact salaries for bargaining unit 1 and 11 employees does not allow it to deny subsequent requests for records covered by section 92F-12(a)(14).  Accordingly, OIP found that the information sought in the second record request should be disclosed.