Appellate Division Upholds Agency’s Decision To Redact Employee Resumes

In an unpublished opinion issued today, the Appellate Division rejected the argument that OPRA requires the disclosure of employee resumes with no redactions. Scheeler v. NJ Dept. of Children and Families.

OPRA exempts personnel records, which includes resumes, from disclosure. The statute permits only limited resume information to be disclosed–information which shows that a public employee meets the specific education and experience qualifications that are prerequisites for his job. In this appeal, the agency complied with the statute and released employee resumes with much information redacted.

The requestor argued that Executive Order 26 (McGreevey) overrides this statutory requirement and mandates release of unredacted resumes. The Appellate Division rejected this position, because it would nullify the legislative protection of personnel records in OPRA.

The court’s conclusion that the executive order cannot supersede the statute seems self-evident, but nevertheless OPRA requestors often rely on Executive Order 26  in seeking access to resumes. For example, see this post concerning an (unsuccessful) effort to obtain applicants’ resumes. The appellate and trial courts have consistently rejected the Executive Order 26 argument and upheld the confidentiality of resumes, but there is no precedential opinion addressing this precise issue.

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