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Policy 400.20

Inquiries Regarding Employees

Originator: Office of Human Resources

Subject: Inquiries Regarding Employees

The following pertains to the kinds of information that can be given to University officials and others who inquire about University employees (faculty, staff and students).

Public Information Defined. The following items are considered public information for the purposes of this policy:

  1. The fact that the individual is or has been employed by the University.

  2. The individual's classification, if any, and title.

  3. Salary.

  4. Home address, campus address, and telephone number, if listed in the campus directory.

  5. Dates of employment.

  6. Employment status (whether permanent or temporary).

  7. Academic degrees received, if listed in the University catalog.

Telephone inquiries.
After the caller identifies himself and the organization he represents, the above public information can be verified by any Personnel Section employee provided that the person making the inquiry first provides each of the items to be verified.

No other information should be given over the phone, except as provided for under Special Inquiries below. This specifically includes personnel information such as race, age, date of birth, sex, ethnic origin, marital status, dependent children, and religious preference. It also includes information regarding retirement system beneficiaries, previous employment, membership in organizations, disciplinary actions, medical information, and the like

Written inquiries.
The above public information may be verified by any Personnel Section employee by written response to a written inquiry.

University officials.
When a University official requests information from a personnel file, it must be cleared through the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer or designee responsible for this policy. The request must be for a bona fide management reason. Unauthorized University employees may not inquire into or examine the personnel records of other employees.

Special inquiries.
Investigative agencies or others with a subpoena or other legal justification should be referred to the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer or designee responsible for this policy who will exercise discretion as to whether or not University legal counsel should be consulted.

Investigators from recognized governmental agencies should be appropriately identified. Government investigators and University employees or others representing an employee in a grievance may receive any information which is defined as public information under Article 76A of the Annotated Code of Maryland or which are listed above under Public information.

Specific state agencies.
The contents of personnel files may be made available to investigators representing the following State Agencies for purposes related to the performance of their statutory duties:

Legislative Auditor, Division of Audits
Division of Fiscal Research
Injured Worker's Insurance Fund

It is noted that the Injured Worker's Insurance Fund has the right to examine and review personnel files to the same extent as the agency may examine its own files.

Federal Department of Defense Investigative Service.
The Defense Investigative Service conducts Personnel Security Investigations to evaluate an individual's acceptability for a position of trust and/or eligibility for access to classified defense information.

The Privacy Act of 1974 requires that PSI information obtained by Federal agencies about an individual be released to that individual upon his/her request. The identity of the person or agency providing the information must also be released to the individual, unless specifically exempted by request of the one providing the information. The information provided to DIS from our records is considered to fall within the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974.

Examining and copying records.
In any personal examination of the contents of an employee's personnel jacket, the following rules apply:

  1. The employee may inspect the contents of his/her jacket, with the exception of letters of reference.

  2. A University official may inspect any personnel document if such inspection is for bona fide management reason, and such inspection is cleared through the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer or designee.

  3. Personnel records may be inspected pursuant to a subpoena or other legal justification. However, all such cases should be referred to the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer or University legal counsel prior to such inspection.

  4. All others are denied the right to personally examine the documents in a personnel jacket. Where the information requested is public information as defined in Article 76A or the Annotated Code of Maryland (including any of the items listed above under Public information), the information will be extracted from the jacket for examination separately.

    NOTE: Only those seven items mentioned as public information above may be released without specific approval by the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. All other requests should be referred to the custodian of the records who will consult with the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer or University legal counsel. Accordingly, all such requests to personally examine personnel jackets should be far enough in advance to allow a staff member to ascertain whether such requests should be honored, and if so, to what extent.

  5. Any requests to copy documents should be approved by the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer or designee. A reasonable charge should be made for copying records.

In the case of emergencies, information may be released with the approval of the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer or designee.

  Current Policy Prior Policy
Policy Number 400.20 400.20
Date 10/08/13 08/18/94