U Memo 23-02

Posted on Nov 30, 2022 in Informal Opinions - UIPA Opinions

U Memo 23-02
Issued November 9, 2022
Pending Investigation

The Department of Agriculture (DOA) denied access under Part III of the UIPA (Part III) to various records about certain complaints that were either filed by or against a former employee (Requester).  After DOA conducted its administrative investigation into alleged violations by Requester of DOA’s Workplace Violence Action Plan, it notified Requester that the investigation had been completed and summarized its findings.  The Hawaii Government Employees’ Association (HGEA) grieved DOA’s findings on Requester’s behalf, and then filed an Intent to Arbitrate which was still pending when DOA responded to requester’s record request.

Because Requester’s grievance was awaiting arbitration and thus was unresolved at the time of Requester’s request and DOA’s response, OIP found that the requested records were part of an ongoing administrative proceeding at the time Requester made his request, and the information withheld would potentially have given him new information about what DOA knew or was considering in the investigation.  OIP therefore concluded that the information was properly withheld at the time DOA responded based on the ongoing administrative proceeding, whether analyzed under the UIPA’s frustration exception, section 92F-13(3), HRS (to the extent the records were general government records), or its ongoing administrative proceeding exemption, section 92F-22(4), HRS (to the extent the records were Requester’s personal record).