FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Local 217, Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union,
against Docket #FIC 94-223
State of Connecticut Department of Revenue Services,
Division of Special Revenue,
Respondent June 14, 1995
At the hearing on the above-captioned matter, a request by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe to intervene was granted. The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 13, 1995, at which time the complainant, the respondent and the intervenor 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 of complaint filed July 8, 1995, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent denied its June 16, 1994 request for the job classifications of individuals licensed to work as employees at Foxwoods Casino.
3. It is found that the complainant by letter dated June 16, 1994 requested a diskette containing gaming license information concerning employees of the Foxwoods Casino.
4. Specifically, the complainant requested the names, addresses, and job classification information relative to the licenses issued to those employees.
5. It is found that the respondent by letter dated June 21, 1994 provided a diskette containing the names and addresses of all licensees, but did not provide the job classification information, indicating that a decision of this Commission prohibited disclosure of that information.
6. It is also found that the respondent by letter dated July 7, 1994 clarified its June 21, 1994 letter by indicating that it was a decision of Superior Court Judge Hendel, and not
Docket #FIC 94-223 Page 2
this Commission, that prohibited disclosure of the job classification information.
7. It is found that the decision of Judge Hendel upon which the respondent relied is contained in a memorandum of decision on a motion to dismiss in Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, et al. v. State of Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, Division of Special Revenue, et al. (Docket No. CV 92-0101113-S, Superior Court, Judicial District of New London at Norwich, Memorandum of Decision dated October 28, 1992) (1992 WL 329287).
8. It is found that the Mashantucket case involves a complaint in Superior Court by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and others that the department of revenue services violated 4-193, G.S. (a provision of the Connecticut Personal Data Act), by disclosing personal data to the complainant.
9. It is found that the defendant department of revenue services, by a pleading dated July 28, 1992, moved to dismiss the Mashantucket Superior Court case on the grounds of sovereign immunity.
10. Specifically, the department of revenue services in its motion to dismiss argued that it had not violated any statutory duty under the Personal Data Act, since the provisions of the Personal Data Act (4-191 and 4-192, G.S.) that at one time prohibited the disclosure of personal data had been repealed in 1979; and since, in addition, the information disclosed did not constitute personal data within the meaning of that act, as such data is defined in 4-190(9), G.S.
11. It is found that Judge Hendel denied the department of revenue service's motion to dismiss by his memorandum of decision dated October 28, 1992, concluding that the job classifications were "employment descriptions," the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S., and that disclosure therefore violated 4-193 of the Personal Data Act and the department's regulations promulgated thereunder.
12. It is found that the complainant, a defendant in the Mashantucket case in Superior Court, moved for a stay of those proceedings on August 31, 1994, to permit this Commission to determine whether job classifications of licensed gaming employees are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
13. It is found that the complainant's motion for a stay of the proceedings was granted.
14. It is found that a decision by the Commission in this contested case appears to be contemplated by both the parties and the court in the Mashantucket case, and should be issued
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notwithstanding the previous Superior Court determination on the motion to dismiss.
15. The respondent maintains that the Superior Court decision on its motion to dismiss the Mashantucket case precludes it from providing the requested information, although it has provided the information in the past.
16. It is found that the respondent had previously, in 1992, provided the complainant with a computer diskette containing the requested names, addresses, and job classifications.
17. It is found that a computer diskette containing the names, addresses, and job classifications of state-licensed casino employees is a public record within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.
18. The intervenor maintains that the Personal Data Act and regulations promulgated thereunder prohibit the disclosure of the requested record, by operating as an exception to the disclosure requirements of 1-19(a), G.S.
19. The Commission takes administrative notice of the fact that 4-191, G.S., previously prohibited disclosure or transmission of personal data.
20. The Commission also takes administrative notice of the fact that 4-191, G.S., previously part of the Personal Data Act, was repealed in 1979.
21. The Commission takes administrative notice of the fact that 4-192, G.S., previously prescribed when personal data could be disclosed without permission.
22. The Commission also takes administrative notice of the fact that 4-192, G.S., previously part of the Personal Data Act, was also repealed in 1979.
23. It is found that the only remaining provision of the Personal Data Act that could arguably be read as a prohibition against disclosure is 4-193(g), G.S., which provides that each agency subject to that act shall:
Except as otherwise provided in section 4-194, disclose to a person upon written request, on a form understandable to such person, all personal data concerning him which is maintained by the agency. If disclosure of personal data is made under this subsection, the agency shall not disclose any personal data concerning persons other than the requesting person.
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24. It is concluded that the provisions of 4-193(g), G.S., by their plain language apply only to the provision of personal data to a person about whom the agency maintains personal data, and prohibit disclosure of personal data about other people to that person.
25. It is further concluded that the provisions of 4-193(g), G.S., by their plain language apply only to the disclosure of information made pursuant to the Personal Data Act, not to disclosures made pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.
26. It is therefore concluded that 4-193(g), G.S., does not constitute an exception to the disclosure requirements of 1-19(a), G.S.
27. The intervenor further maintains that the purpose and policy underlying the Freedom of Information Act prohibit the disclosure to the complainant of the names, addresses and job classifications of casino employees; and further that disclosure would constitute an invasion of the employees' personal privacy.
28. It is found that the requested job classifications are short job titles that the respondent designates as "casino occupations," such as "accountant/auditor," "administrative assistant," "blackjack dealer," and "blackjack floorperson."
29. It is found that the job classifications simply reflect the respondent's name for certain casino occupations, which names it assigns for licensing purposes.
30. It is found that the job classifications are not information contained in personnel, medical or similar files within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.
31. It is also found that the intervenor failed to prove that disclosure of the job classifications would constitute an invasion of personal privacy within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.
32. It is further found that there is a legitimate public interest in knowing the short descriptions of the occupations of casino employees who are licensed by the state.
33. It is further found that disclosure of those short descriptions would not be highly offensive to a reasonable person.
34. It is therefore concluded that the requested job classifications are not exempt from disclosure.
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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 to the complainant a computer diskette containing the requested job classification information.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 14, 1995.
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 94-223 Page 6
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:
LOCAL 217, HOTEL AND RESTAURANT EMPLOYEES UNION
c/o Thomas W. Meiklejohn, Esq.
Gould, Livingston, Adler & Pulda
557 Prospect Avenue
Hartford, CT 06105-2922
STATE OF CONNECTICUT, DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SERVICES, DIVISION OF SPECIAL REVENUE
c/o Richard M. Sheridan, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105
MASHANTUCKET PEQUOT TRIBE
c/o David Williams, Esq.
Brown, Jacobson, Tillinghast, Lahan & King, P.C.
22 Courthouse Square
Norwich, CT 06360
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission