Opinion Letter No. 01-04
October 29, 2001
Disclosure of Sexual Harassment Complaint Investigation Records
The Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii
("RCUH") administers research projects for the
University of Hawaii. During one project, an Equal Employment Opportunity
complaint was filed
alleging sexual harassment.
After investigating the complaint, the RCUH wrote a Closing Report
and issued two formal letters of
determination ("investigative records") to the subject
of the complaint ("Subject") and to the
complainant. The letters stated that the RCUH found that there was
no evidence to support a breach
of the RCUH Sexual Harassment policy or EEO policy, and that the
case was closed.
The Subject asked the RCUH for copies of the investigative records
pertaining to the sexual
harassment claim filed against him. The RCUH asked the OIP for an
opinion on whether the letter to
the complainant and the RCUH's Closing Report for the case must
be disclosed to the Subject.
The OIP noted that the UIPA requires that personal record requesters
be given access to their
personal records, subject to the exemptions set forth at section
92F-22, Hawaii Revised Statutes.
The OIP advised the RCUH that the investigative records must be
disclosed to the Subject of the
complaint, except for information that may be withheld from disclosure
under section 92F-22(2),
Hawaii Revised Statutes. Among other things, this section allows
agencies to withhold records or
information the disclosure of which would reveal the identity of
a source who furnished information
under an express or implied promise of confidentiality.
Normally, section 92F-22(2), Hawaii Revised Statutes, protects only
witness names, and not the
information provided by that source. In this instance, however,
because the witness came from a small group of people who worked
closely together, disclosure of the information provided by a witness
would likely lead to the identification of that witness.
Therefore, redaction of the witness statements, and other information
that would allow identification of
witnesses in other sections of the RCUH's Closing Report, is warranted
in order to protect their