Under a recent WA State Supreme Court ruling, the birth dates of employees at public agencies must be available to anyone who files a public disclosure request.
A temporary restraining order (TRO) has been secured to stop the immediate release of this sensitive information, and requires public agencies to screen for employees who are victims of domestic violence and workers with special privacy needs. The temporary order bars government agencies from releasing names until March 31, and not to release any information about the protected employees at that time.
The TRO provides public employees (and/or their families) who have been victims of sexual assault, stalking, and/or domestic violence, or have a court issued temporary protection order or anti-harassment order (not limited to domestic violence) the right to keep their birth date information private.
If this applies to you, please use the template below to send a confidential email to email@example.com using your personal email, and we will assist you in protecting your information from being released to the public. Do not contact us with your work email if you wish to maintain confidentiality.
Temporary Restraining Order
You may be able to claim an exemption based on the following language in the TRO:
(a) A police report indicating that the employee or employee’s family member was a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
(b) A court order protecting or separating the employee or employee’s family member from the perpetrator of the act of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or other evidence from the court or the prosecuting attorney that the employee or employee’s family member appeared, or is scheduled to appear, in court in connection with an incident of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
(c) Documentation that the employee or the employees family member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, from any of the following persons from whom the employee or employee’s family member sought assistance in addressing the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking: An advocate for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; an attorney; a member of the clergy; or a medical or other professional. The provision of documentation under this section does not waive or diminish the confidential or privileged nature of communications between a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking with one or more of the individuals named in this subsection (4)(c) pursuant to RCW 5.60.060, 70.123.075, 70.123.076, or 70.125.065; or
(d) An employee’s written statement that the employee or the employee’s family member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and that the leave taken was for one of the purposes described in RCW 49.76.030 or the safety accommodation requested pursuant to RCW 49.76.115 is to protect the employee from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or
(e) A court issued temporary protection order or anti-harassment order.
How to claim an exemption
Please complete the template below and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
I am a public employee working at [name of employer/institution/agency], and I wish to keep my identity and work location private for my safety, and the safety of my family and co-workers.
I have attached [insert type of applicable document(s), such as police report, counselor statement; address confidentiality program enrollment; safety plan; court order; etc.] to SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, via this confidential email.
If you have questions or need assistance, you may call 800-422-8934 or email email@example.com.
The temporary protection order shields state employee’s personal information from one anti-labor group, but the court order does not protect our information from requests made by other entities, such as media outlets. We know that a local newspaper has recently made a request for records to the state, which can only be stopped if lawmakers act. Take action by telling your legislator to support House Bill 1888.