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2013 Hawaii Attorney General Reports and Opinions [i] (2013)

handle is hein.sag/saghi0047 and id is 1 raw text is: Opinion Letter Summary

Opinion Letter No. 13-01
April 5, 2013
Investigative Report on
Workplace Violence Complaint
Requesters ask whether the Department of Transportation (DOT) properly denied their request under Part
III of the UIPA for disclosure of the investigative report (Report), which was prepared by DOT's Office of
Civil Rights (OCR) in response to a workplace violence complaint (Complaint) filed by the four Requesters.
The Complaint alleges that another DOT employee (Respondent) was the aggressor in a workplace
violence incident against one of the Requesters (Complainant). The other three Requesters (Witnesses)
were interviewed by OCR regarding this incident.
Analytical Framework for Responding to a Personal Record Request:
Because the Requesters are individuals asking for access to the Report, which contains information
about them, DOT must first consider their records requests as personal records requests under Part
III of the UIPA. In order to respond to a personal record request, an agency should follow this analytical
framework:
1) What is the personal record of the individual requesting access under Part III of the
UIPA?
An agency should review the subject matter and contents of the requested record in order to ascertain
what, if any, information in the record identifies and is specifically about the individual requesting access,
and thereby determine whether all or a portion of the record constitutes that individual's personal
record. This OIP opinion partially overrules two past OIP opinions to the extent that they created a
rebuttable presumption that an entire record is a personal record merely because the record mentioned
an individual's name.
2) Does an applicable Part III exemption in section 92F-22, HRS, allow the withholding of
access to the personal record?
When an agency has determined that the record, or portions thereof, is an individual's personal record,
the agency may withhold the personal record from the individual only when there is an applicable Part III
exemption as set forth in section 92F-22, HRS.
3) What portion, if any, is a government record subject to the public disclosure requirements
of Part II of the UIPA?
Any portion that is not a personal record must be reviewed under Part II of the UIPA to determine
whether the requester, as a member of the general public, would be entitled to access the government
record.
4) Does an applicable Part II exception in section 92F-13, HRS, allow the non-disclosure of a
government record that is not a Part III personal record?
An agency may withhold such portion of the record from public access only when it falls within an
exception to required public disclosure, as set forth in section 92F-13, HRS. If no Part II exception
applies, the agency must publicly disclose that portion of the government record.
Using this analytical framework, the opinion concluded that under Part III of the UIPA, most of the Report
is the personal record of the Complainant since she is identified throughout the Report as the purported
victim of the alleged workplace violence incident, which is the subject matter of the Report. OIP further
found that limited portions of the Report are about each Witness and, therefore, constitute that Witness'
personal record. Thus, each Witness' personal record varies and consists specifically of each Witness' own
statement in the Report, sections of the Report describing the allegations and background of the
Complaint received from all four Requesters (Complainant and all Witnesses), and items of information
specifically about that identified Witness in the Report's scope of investigation and analysis.
However, certain portions of the Report are not the personal records of any of the Requesters because
these portions consist of information that are not about any of the Requesters but rather are specifically
and exclusively about the Respondent or other DOT employees who had been interviewed. As to such
portions of the Report that are not the Requesters' personal records, DOT's disclosure is governed instead
by provisions in Part II of the UIPA requiring public disclosure of government records to the general public
unless an exception applies.
OIP found that no exemptions to disclosure in section 92F-22, HRS, allow DOT to withhold those portions

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