FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by                        Final Decision

 

Jay-Todd J. Schuder,

 

                        Complainant

 

            against              Docket #FIC 92-173

 

State of Connecticut, Department of Correction,

 

                        Respondent                  December 23, 1992

 

            The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 16, 1992, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

            After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

 

            1.  The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

            2.  By letter dated April 21, 1992, the complainant requested from the respondent copies of documents acquired or generated by two female employees of the respondent, identified in the letter, regarding a sexual harassment allegation made against the complainant by a third female employee of the respondent, also identified in the letter.  In addition, the complainant requested all reports, witnesses' written statements and investigation findings concerning the sexual harassment allegation.

 

            3.  By letter dated April 28, 1992, the respondent denied the complainant's request claiming only that the records requested are confidential under 46a-68-46(b) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.

 

            4.         At the hearing, the respondent claimed further that the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's ("EEOC") written guidance on "Sexual Harassment-Remedial Action" requires confidentiality of procedures to protect victims and witnesses from retaliation.

 

Docket #FIC 92-173                           Page 2

 

            5.   Section 46a-68-46(b) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies states:

 

            All records of grievances and dispositions thereof shall be maintained and reviewed on a regular basis by the affirmative action officer to detect any patterns in the nature of the grievances.  Records so retained shall be confidential except where disclosure is required by law.

 

            6.   Section 1-19(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

                        Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours or to receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-15.  Any agency rule or regulation or part thereof, that conflicts with the provisions of this subsection or diminishes or curtails in any way the rights granted by this subsection shall be void....

 

            7.  It is found that 46a-68-46(b) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies explicitly provides for disclosure of records where disclosure is required by law, and such disclosure is required by 1-19(a), G.S.

 

            8.  It is also found that the EEOC's written guidance on "Sexual Harassment-Remedial Actions" does not provide an exemption to disclosure under 1-19(a), G.S., because it is not binding; it is recommendatory only.

 

            9.  It is found that in the absence of applicable federal law or state statute that provides an exemption to disclosure, the records described in paragraph 2, above, are public records as defined in 1-18a(d), G.S., and subject to disclosure pursuant to 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

            10.  It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., when it failed to provide access to the records requested by the complainant in his April 21, 1992 letter.

 

Docket #FIC 92-173                           Page 3

 

            The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above captioned complaint:

 

            1.  The respondent shall forthwith provide the complainant with a copy of the records more particularly described in paragraph 2 of the findings, above.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of December 23, 1992.

 

                                                                 

                                    Debra L. Rembowski

                                    Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

Docket #FIC 92-173                           Page 4

 

PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

 

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:

Jay-Todd J. Schuder

5-B Brickyard Road

Farmington, CT 06032

 

State of Connecticut Department of Correction

c/o Assistant Attorney General Margaret Quilter Chapple

110 Sherman Street

Hartford, CT 06105

 

                                                                 

                                    Debra L. Rembowski

                                    Acting Clerk of the Commission