The Washington State Supreme Court recently ruled, in a narrow 5-4 decision, in WPEA v. Freedom Foundation that public employees’ names and dates of birth are subject to disclosure under the Washington State Public Records Act. This means that OSD employee birthdates are no longer exempt and will not be redacted or withheld from public disclosure in response to a public records request.
Employee personal contact information such as home address, home phone, home email address and social security number are still exempt from public disclosure under RCW 42.56.250(3) when found in an employee file. However, should you choose to share this type of information in an email, it cannot be redacted or withheld as exempt.
For additional information about this ruling or any other questions concerning the Public Records Act, please contact me.
Below is the Public Records Tip of the Month, submitted by Diana Crawford, the school district’s Public Disclosure Officer. This month’s blog post focuses on working from home.
Working from home
Many of us need to conduct school-related work while we’re away from our work computers. Best practice would be to conduct that work on your district-issued laptop if you have one. If you need to “bring” documents home to your personal computer, consider using a flash drive to transfer work instead of emailing documents back and forth from work to home.
Using district Gmail from your home computer, or using a Gmail app downloaded onto a personal cell phone set up with your OSD Gmail account, makes it convenient to send and receive district email in a way that doesn’t compromise personal privacy and is archived and searchable by the district.
Below is the first Public Records Tip of the Month, submitted by Diana Crawford, the school district’s Public Disclosure Officer. This month’s blog post focuses on public records on personal electronic devices and in personal email accounts.
The Washington State Supreme Court has recently ruled in Nissen v. Pierce County, 183 Wn.2d 863 (2015) that any records, including emails and text messages located on personal cell phones, personal computers and other personal devices or in private email accounts are “public records” if the employee created or received the records while acting in an official “Agency” capacity.
This ruling should be considered as an OSD employee, (teacher, para, support staff, coach or administrator) conducts OSD-related business on personal devices and in personal email accounts.
Examples where public records may be found on personal devices or email:
- Personal cell phones: Texts, PDF readers & Photos
- Personal email accounts: In Box, Sub folders, spam/junk folder, sent folder, deleted/trash folders
- Personal computer: desktop, subfolder, download folder
- Other types of accounts: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
- Other types of devices: iPad or tablet, digital cameras
Using district Gmail on a home computer, or using a Gmail app downloaded onto a personal cell phone set up with an district employees’ Gmail could help to make it convenient to send and receive district email in a way that doesn’t compromise personal privacy and is archived and searchable by the district.