State Records Committee Appeal 01-10
BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH
PACKAGING CORP. OF AMERICA Appellant, vs.
UTAH LABOR COMMISSION, Appellee.
DECISION AND ORDER
Case No. 01-10
By this appeal, Packaging Corp. of America ("PCA") seeks an order compelling the Utah Labor Commission (the "Commission") to provide a "complete copy of an OSHA complaint file, complaint number 201550514." Alan Hennebold represented the Commission. Carrie Taylor represented PCA.
The State Records Committee, having reviewed the written materials submitted by the parties, and having heard oral argument and testimony on November 7, 2001, now issues the following Decision and Order.
STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR DECISION
1. The Government Records Access and Management Act ("GRAMA") specifies that "[a]ll records are public unless otherwise expressly provided by statute." Utah Code Ann. 63-2-201(2). GRAMA further provides that "[t]he disclosure of records to which access is governed or limited pursuant to . . . another state statute . . . is governed by the specific provisions of that statute . . . ." Utah Code Ann. 63-2-201(6).
2. Records properly classified as "protected" or otherwise "restricted pursuant to . . . another state statute . . ." are not public. Utah Code Ann. 63-2-201(3).
3. Utah Code Ann. 34A-6-301 states as follows: (6)(a)(i) Any employee or representatives of employees who believe that a violation of an adopted safety or health standard exists that threatens physical harm, or that an imminent danger exists, may request an inspection by giving notice to the division's authorized representative of the violation or danger. . . . Upon request of the person giving notice, the person's name shall not appear in the copy or on any record published, released, or made available pursuant to Subsection (7). . . . (7)(a) The division may compile, analyze, and publish, either in summary or detailed form, all reports or information obtained under this section, subject to the limitations set forth in Section 34A-6-306.
4. The Committee finds that the referenced provisions of the Utah Occupational Safety and Health Act (UOSH) only govern the name of the employee or representatives of employees in the file regarding complaint number 201550514. These provisions do not govern the entire file.
5. The remainder of the file, however, appears to be properly classified as a protected record. See Utah Code Ann. 63-2-304(9). Therefore, the remaining question is whether the "public interest favoring access outweighs the interest favoring restriction of access." In making this determination, the Committee must consider and weigh "the various interests and public policies pertinent to the classification and disclosure or nondisclosure . . . ." Utah Code Ann. 63-2-403(11)(b); see also Utah Code Ann. 63-2-202(9)(b).
6. The Records Committee is persuaded that the public interest favoring access outweighs the interests favoring restriction of access. Disclosing the OSHA complaint file, without the names of persons prohibited from disclosure by Utah Code Ann. 34A-6-301, will help PCA present credible, competent evidence at a workers' compensation administrative hearing and increase the likelihood of a just and fair outcome. Furthermore, it will assist PCA in its efforts to determine whether it is a victim of fraud or harassment in that case.
WHEREFORE, it is ordered that Packaging Corp. of America is entitled to the complaint file it seeks (Complaint number 201550514). The Labor Commission is authorized to redact the names of the persons prohibited from being disclosed under the Utah Occupational Safety and Health Act. See Utah Code Ann. 34A-6-301(6).
RIGHT TO APPEAL
Either party may appeal this Decision and Order to the district court. The petition for review must be filed no later than thirty (30) days after the date of this order. The petition for judicial review must be a complaint. The complaint and the appeals process are governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and by Utah Code Ann. 63-2-402 and -404. The court is required to make its decision de novo. In order to protect its rights on appeal, a party may wish to seek advice from an attorney.
Entered this 13th day of November, 2001.
BY THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE
Cherie Willis, Chairperson
State Records Committee