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Public Records Request for Unfettered Inspection of all a Public Entity’s Personnel Files Are Generally Improper

In the case of State ex rel. Watkins v. Columbus City Schs, 10th Dist. No. 18AP-321, 2019-Ohio-4949, an Ohio appellate court held that a public records request requesting unfettered inspection of all a public entity’s personnel files was improper.

In this case, a school terminated an employee after a hearing in front of a referee under R.C. 3319.16.  The employee made multiple public records requests under R.C. 149.43, which the school denied because those records would contain sensitive employee information not constituting public records.

The Ohio appellate court held that the school properly denied the employee’s public records requests because giving the employee unfettered inspection of all the school’s personnel files would allow the employee to see sensitive employee information that did not constitute public records under R.C. 149.43.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is always changing like the Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

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