The Commonwealth Court on February 17, 2015 issued its opinion on the release of home addresses of school employees in response to a Right to Know Law (RTKL) request.
What we know:
1. No employees’ home address may be released until the employee has had written notice of the request and a meaningful opportunity to object to disclosure of their home addresses for any of the reasons permitted by the RTKL including the personal security exception; and
2. The Office of Open Records (OOR) must let such individuals intervene as a party in any appeal of a denial of a RTKL request for the employees’ home addresses.
What to do:
- Upon receiving a request for home addresses (one of which is currently expected from Simon Campbell of the Pennsylvanians for Union Reform) the District must assess in what manner notice of the request can be given to affected employees, and what, if any, costs will be incurred in providing such notice.
- If there is a need to provide notice by first class mail (e.g. because you do not have e-mail addresses) and if the total cost exceeds $100, the District may CONSIDER whether it may hold the request in abeyance until the requester pays the costs of mailing the notice.
- Since “all applicable fees shall be paid in order to receive access to the record requested,” there is no need to provide access/copies until the District has received payment from the requesting party of any permissible costs.
- Take the thirty day (30) extension.
- In the event either party to the current litigation appeals and the Supreme Court continues the enforcement of the injunction or stays the Commonwealth Court order pending the outcome of the appeal, no action need be taken by the District to any such RTKL request for employee home addresses.
- If the Court order is not stayed and if the District either has received prepayment of any costs in excess of $100 or email addresses that can be used for free, the District must provide notice to each affected individual of the request with sufficient time for the employee to object prior to the District making a decision whether to appeal the request or fulfill the request.
- If the District cannot complete the response within the 30 day extension time, the District may seek a further extension from the requestor or the matter will be deemed denied and the requestor can appeal to OOR.
- If a denial is appealed to OOR, the individuals affected will then be permitted to intervene as parties to the appeal before OOR under the current Commonwealth Court order.
- If a request is granted, the Court has given the individuals affected the right to appeal the GRANT of a request for a home address to OOR. Therefore, DO NOT GIVE THE REQUESTOR ACCESS TO THE INFORMATION until the District has notified the affected individuals of the right to appeal to OOR and the appeal period has run.