You are here

FIA-14-0025 - In the Matter of Tim Hadley

On May 16, 2014, the Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) issued a decision denying an appeal (Appeal) from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) determination issued by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA). The Appellant, Tim Hadley, sought records relating to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) whistleblower cases processed by OHA including case number, case date, plaintiff and defendant and case outcome. OHA identified several responsive documents consisting of printed database information listing ARRA whistleblower cases referred to OHA with various fields containing information regarding each case. OHA redacted fields that contained the names of the individuals filing the complaints, the names of former and present federal OHA attorney employees assigned to each case, the federal OHA attorneys’ E-mail addresses, and the name of the current federal OHA employee who entered data into the database pursuant to Exemption 6. The CIO found that OHA correctly found that each of the named individuals, employees, and former employees had significant privacy interest. The CIO also found that release of the identifying information would not further the public interest since the information would not shed any light with regard to the operations and activities of government. In considering the Exemption 6 balancing test, the CIO found that the significant privacy interests connected to the withheld names and other identifying information was not outweighed by the illusory public interest in releasing the information. Consequently, the CIO found that OHA properly invoked Exemption 6 to withhold the information and the Appeal was denied.