U Memo 20-12Posted on Jun 29, 2020 in Informal Opinions - UIPA Opinions
U Memo 20-12
June 29, 2020
Access to Personnel File Records
Requester sought a copy of his personnel file from Kanuikapono Public Charter School (KPCS), which included records for the school years 2010-11 and 2018-19. KPCS has not yet provided a copy of the 2018-19 school year records it acknowledges it maintains, in violation of the UIPA’s Part III. Because there appears to be some question as to whether Requester seeks a copy of his entire file, KPCS and Requester should communicate in writing to set a new appointment to inspect to determine what Requester specifically wants copies of. KPCS may charge copy costs but may not charge any other fees to process requests under Part III.
KPCS did not show that it made a reasonable search for responsive records pertaining to the 2010-11 school year. It therefore failed to meet its burden under the UIPA to justify its partial denial of access to records on the basis it did not maintain them. HRS § 92F-15(c) (2012). KPCS should conduct a reasonable search and should inform Requester of the results of the search within in a reasonable time. There are statutory time limits for responding to Part III record requests, but the Governor’s temporary suspension of the UIPA’s time limits in light of the COVID-19 pandemic allows a reasonable time to respond. If responsive records are found, KPCS should provide access to Requester in accordance with Part III of the UIPA within a reasonable time.
There is no evidence to substantiate that Requester made a request for an accommodation asking that he not be alone with KPCS’s Human Resources (HR) Clerk during inspection of his personnel file. KPCS’s response to this appeal indicated that KPCS’s Executive Director (ED) will allow inspection with the ED or a member of “HR staff.” To avoid future issues, OIP found KPCS should allow Requester to schedule inspection with someone other than the HR Clerk.