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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Oklahoma Attorney General Opinion Leaves Agencies with Discretion to Release Employees' Birth Dates

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson has released an opinion that leaves it to government agencies to decide whether to release public employees' birth dates. The opinion states government agencies have the discretion to determine whether the release of an employee's birth date falls within the exemption to the state's Open Records Act that allows records to be kept confidential if releasing them would be an "unwarranted invasion of personal privacy."

The opinion came in response to Oklahoma City's refusal to release the birth date of the city's Weed and Seed program director, Ed Martin, who was placed on administrative leave after city officials found federal grant funds had been mismanaged. The Oklahoman, arguing it is impossible to match common names without a birth date, sought Martin's birth date in order to conduct background research after he was identified as part of the investigation.

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