RULE INTERPRETATION

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RULE INTERPRETATIONS
CHAPTER 60K-10, F.A.C.
Personnel Programs, Records, and Reports
REFERENCE NUMBER:
60K-10.003(1) and (2)(d), F.A.C.
MEMO NUMBER:
60K-10-01-1999-055
SUBJECT:
DATE:
January 31,
1999
In accordance with s. 110.1055, F.S., these rules became
statutorily repealed effective January 1, 2002. All rule
interpretations are pending legal review for statutory
authority and applicability to recently promulgated rules.
Medical Records
QUESTION: Are medical records and background investigation reports included in an employee’s personnel file?
INTERPRETATION: Section 119.07, F.S., addresses documents that are exempt from public inspection,
including medical records and specific investigative reports. Such exempt papers are to be filed in a separate file
for exempt documents. If a particular report, such as a fingerprint report, does not qualify for exemption under
Section 119.07, F.S., then it should be placed in the employee’s personnel file. The word "correspondence" in
Section 60K-10.003(2)(d), F.A.C., may be interpreted broadly to include nonexempt reports as well as letters.
REFERENCE NUMBER:
60K-10.003(1), F.A.C.
MEMO NUMBER:
60K-10-01-1999-056
SUBJECT:
DATE:
January 31,
1999
In accordance with s. 110.1055, F.S., this rule became
statutorily repealed effective January 1, 2002. All rule
interpretations are pending legal review for statutory
authority and applicability to recently promulgated rules.
Employee Personnel Records
QUESTION: Section 60K-10.003, F.A.C., states that files exempted from the provisions of Chapter 119, F.S.,
shall be confidentially maintained. Where are these files to be maintained?
INTERPRETATION: In order to comply with Chapter 119, F.S., these files shall be maintained confidentially in
the personnel office in a file separate from the employee’s official employment file and shall be marked
confidential and exempt from public record.
REFERENCE NUMBER:
60K-10.003(1), F.A.C.
MEMO NUMBER:
60K-10-01-1999-057
SUBJECT:
DATE:
January 31,
1999
In accordance with s. 110.1055, F.S., this rule
became statutorily repealed effective
January 1, 2002. All rule interpretations are
pending legal review for statutory authority
and applicability to recently promulgated
rules.
Disclosure of Educational Records Submitted with Employment
Applications
QUESTION: Are educational records, including school transcripts, exempt from disclosure by a
state agency which received such documentation along with an application for employment?
INTERPRETATION: There is no blanket protection from disclosure for school records submitted
to a state agency which is not an educational institution. However, certain information contained
in those documents might need to be protected. Therefore, before providing access to records
pursuant to a public records request, the documents must be examined to determine whether
they relate to an individual, such as a law enforcement officer or correctional officer, who is
entitled to confidentiality of some information pursuant to Section 119.07(3)(i)1., F.S. Additionally,
the social security numbers of present and former employees must be removed if the number is
contained in an employment record. When medical information is contained in such records
regarding even prospective employees, that information must also be edited unless written
permission or a court order is received.
REFERENCE NUMBER:
60K-10.003(3), 60K-3.0092 and 60K-3.0072(1),
F.A.C.
MEMO NUMBER:
60K-10-01-1999-058
SUBJECT:
DATE:
January 31,
1999
In accordance with s. 110.1055, F.S., these
rules became statutorily repealed effective
January 1, 2002. All rule interpretations are
pending legal review for statutory authority
and applicability to recently promulgated
rules.
Disclosure of Information in Personnel Files & Records
QUESTION: Does a request to review a personnel file have to be in "writing"?
INTERPRETATION: No. The provisions of Chapter 119, F.S., make it clear that the custodian of
records is required to allow inspection of non-privileged public records upon request. Except as
exempted by Chapter 119, F.S., or other statute, personnel records are public records within the
meaning of Chapter 119, F.S., and therefore, any person is entitled to inspection of those records
upon reasonable conditions. Section 60K-10.003(3), F.A.C., cannot be construed as conflicting
with the right to inspection pursuant to Chapter 119, F.S., or as restricting any such right.
Accordingly, written permission from an employee to inspect the personnel file is not necessary.
QUESTION: Is there a limitation on the type of information requested by telephone, in writing or in
person that can be given from an employee’s personnel file?
INTERPRETATION: Chapter 119, F.S., allows the inspection and copying of non-privileged public
records. No obligation is imposed by Chapter 119, F.S., upon the custodian of records to divulge
information in writing or telephonically. An agency can, consistent with Chapter 119, F.S., require
personal inspection of those records by the party requesting to inspect and copy and could
institute procedures whereby the employee whose record is to be inspected will be notified prior to
the inspection occurring.
QUESTION: Are personnel files open to the public?
INTERPRETATION: The files are open for public inspection, however, documents containing the
social security number must be copied and the numbers blackened out or eliminated.
QUESTION: May we deny access to files and records which contain social security numbers or
are we required to remove such numbers from the documents prior to providing access?
INTERPRETATION: Access must be provided; however, the social security number must be
deleted from the record before access is approved.
QUESTION: If a public records request is received for documents or a request to review a
personnel file is received, who is responsible for paying for the copies furnished or copies made
requiring deletion of social security numbers?
INTERPRETATION: Section 119.07(1)(b), F.S., allows for a reasonable "special service charge"
when such a request constitutes voluminous copying or extensive use of clerical help. Therefore,
a determination would have to be made by each agency as to the point at which charges are
incurred.
If the request is for copies, then certainly, the requestor would be charged for each copy made.
QUESTION: In accordance with Section 60K-3.0092, F.A.C., Documentation, each employing
agency must ensure that records are maintained which document the selection process and
justify the selection decision. Such records must be maintained for two years from the date of the
making of the record or personnel action, whichever occurs later. Selection documentation
includes all the applications received for the announced vacancy. Should an unsuccessful
applicant request to see the selection documentation file, would this request fall under definition of
"public records requests for state employment records", meaning that the social security numbers
on all state applications would have to be removed?
INTERPRETATION: Yes, if an unsuccessful applicant requests to see the selection
documentation file, that is a request for public records and all exemptions are applicable. All social
security numbers would have to be marked out or deleted on the records requested before the
records could be reviewed by the requestor.
Keep in mind that public records are defined in Section 119.011(1), F.S., as follows:
(1) "Public records" means all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs,
films, sound recordings or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or
received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by
any agency.
The selection documents would be public records under this definition.
QUESTION: In accordance with Section 60K-3.0072(1), F.A.C., Accepting Employment
Applications, application for employment in the Career Service must be made on the Career
Service Employment Application which contains space for the applicant’s social security number.
When applications are received for announced vacancies, they are collected and screened for
eligibility by an appointing authority or panel of appointing authorities who will conduct the
interview. Since these activities are pertinent to the selection process, will this normal business
process be subject to the requirement to exclude social security numbers from view?
INTERPRETATION: No, the social security numbers on the applications do not need to be
blackened out before review by screening or selection authorities. These employees are receiving
and reviewing the information as part of their official duties, and not as a result of a public record’s
request under Chapter 119, F.S.
QUESTION: May a supervisor request to review an employee’s personnel file for promotional
consideration, reassignment, performance review, or disciplinary action?
INTERPRETATION: Yes, when the request to review the file is part of their employment duties, it
is not a public records request under Chapter 119, F.S.
QUESTION: Many of the documents and records relating to employees contain the employee’s
social security number such as Employee Action Form for computer entry or Request for
Personnel Action Form. When sending copies of these completed forms to the employee via
interoffice mail must we be concerned with the confidentiality of the social security number?
INTERPRETATION: No, if you are sending the document to the employee to whom the social
security number relates, there is certainly no problem. The information is not being transferred
pursuant to a public records request. Further, documents being sent intra-agency or inter-agency
for business purposes are not being transferred under the purview of Chapter 119, F.S. Parties
sending such information would be prudent to put the information
QUESTION: If the employee Leave Statement and the Attendance and Leave Report contain the
employee’s social security number, can the documents be distributed through inter-office mail and
distributed by staff to the employee?
INTERPRETATION: Yes. See question above.
QUESTION: When employment records are compiled and prepared for submittal to respond to
complaints filed with EEOC and FCHR, or in response to PERC appeals or subpoenas, are such
employment records, containing social security number covered under the definition of "public
record requests" even though the records are part of conducting business with other federal and
state entities, or satisfying a legal order?
INTERPRETATION: This question raises two separate issues. The first issue relates to release of
documents containing social security numbers in response to an EEOC or FCHR complaint or
PERC appeal. The agency would be supplying these documents in defense of these claims. They
are not supplied in response to a public records request. Furthermore, Section 119.07(3), F.S.,
relating to social security numbers is only an exemption of that information, which the agency can
invoke. It does not prevent the agency from disclosing the information if it chooses to do so.
The second issue raised relates to subpoenas for such information. In response to a subpoena,
the agency could blank out the social security number information on a particular requested
document if it wanted to do so under Section 119.07(3), F.S. If the requesting party still wanted
the social security number information, an in-camera hearing (private viewing) would be held
before the presiding authority to determine if the agency had a valid reason for invoking the
exemption and to review it in conjunction with the requestor’s need for the information. However, it
is initially the agency’s call as to whether they wish to invoke the exemption at all. They are not
required by law to do so unless the information is also statutorily deemed to be confidential as
well. The legislature determined that there was a public necessity to prevent unwanted invasion of
personal privacy by exempting social security numbers but they did not make the information
confidential, thereby barring release of it. Therefore, in response to a subpoena the agency might
want to make a determination on a case-by-case basis as to whether the social security number
information included in documents compiled under a subpoena should be deleted.
QUESTION: Many reports, data files, computer screens or documents which are used in
conducting agency business contain social security numbers. May these be viewed by
departmental employees other than personnel practitioners?
INTERPRETATION: Yes, however it might be prudent to eliminate social security numbers from
screens in future set ups if such information is not essential.
QUESTION: If a public records request is received to provide a copy of a computer report which
contains social security numbers, are we required to re-program or edit the program to provide the
information without the social security number? If the answer is in the affirmative, do we charge
for the costs associated with this work?
INTERPRETATION: Section 119.07(1)(b), F.S., does not necessarily require an agency to write a
special program. However, if the information requested can only be accessed through the creation
of a special program, the agency could charge the requestor for a reasonable "special service
charge" to cover the costs associated with creating such a program. In the alternative the agency
can provide the information requested in whatever form it can currently access it.
However, whatever form it is provided in, the information provided should not contain the
exempted information. [See § 119.07(1)(b), F.S.]
QUESTION: May a third party, such as an insurance agency or another public entity, be provided
with social security numbers when they are involved in providing a service to the agency (Open
enrollments and computer billing)?
INTERPRETATION: Yes, if the disclosure is at the request of the employee, i.e., requesting
coverage. The numbers should not be provided to a company simply for solicitation of new
business.
QUESTION: When a state employee accepts a job with another state agency, can the
employee’s personnel records with social security number be transferred to the receiving agency?
INTERPRETATION: Yes, the transfer is being done at the request of the employee by virtue of
their acceptance of the new state employment and the transfer is interagency. Keep in mind the
agency is free to share exempt, but non-confidential information if it is in the best interest of the
agency. However, the nature of the request and the circumstances involved should be carefully
considered before deciding to release exempt information.
Updated: February 10, 1999
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