For most of the year, OPEA has been fighting through the legal system the release of state employees’ dates of birth and the idea that state employees’ birth dates are public record. As of today, OPEA’s efforts have been successful. Each agency has been instructed to notify the Office of State Finance by December 20, if they will release their employees’ birth dates. So far, the majority of the agencies have notified OSF that they will not release this private information to the press.
“The agencies that are standing behind their employees and refusing to release their private information account for over 31,000 state employees,” said OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley. “State employees and OPEA appreciate the stand that these agencies have taken on this very serious issue. Unfortunately, a few agencies have released and or will release this private information.These agencies account for approximately 1,400 employees.”
OPEA has filed an appeal at the Oklahoma Supreme Court asking the court to rule that all state employee birth dates should not be released and these records are not public record. In addition, OPEA has filed a stay with the Oklahoma Supreme requesting the Court not to allow the release of any state employee birth dates until the court rules on the appeal.
“We should receive the ruling on the stay in the next few days,” said Zearley. “The release of this private information is a serious invasion of that employee’s rights and we believe the court will agree.”
Recently, Supreme Court of Texas ruled that, state employees have a privacy interest that “substantially outweighs the minimal public interest in the information” and release “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” For information about the Texas case click here.
“We believe the Texas case is an important precedent and hope the Oklahoma Supreme Court will follow suit,” concluded Zearley.