Public Access Opinion 14-015

Freedom of Information Act: employee’s employment application and résumé

Freedom of Information Act - FOIA
Case: Public Access Opinion 14-015
Date: Tuesday, November 25, 2014

At issue in this PAC opinion, binding on the Village of Winnetka, was whether the Village had to disclose an employee’s employment application and résumé pursuant to a FOIA request. Finding yes, the PAC rejected the Village’s argument that the employee’s application and résumé qualified for the exemption for personal information the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. The PAC determined that the employee’s education, training, and experience were all factors that bear on his ability to perform his public duties and, even if they did not, the Village did not sustain its burden of demonstrating by clear and convincing evidence that the exemption was applicable. The PAC also found that the application and résumé did not qualify for the exemptions for performance evaluations or deliberative material. The exemption for private information applied to allow the Village to redact unique identifiers and private information listed in section 7(1)(b) of FOIA, e.g., social security number, telephone number, and personal e-mail. The takeaway for school districts is that the PAC will likely require the disclosure of an employee’s application and résumé (with private information redacted), unless the district can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the application and résumé contain information that is highly personal.