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John Cornyn

May 18, 1999

Mr. Roland Castaneda
General Counsel
Dallas Area Rapid Transit
P.O. Box 660163
Dallas, Texas 75266-0163


Dear Mr. Castaneda:

You have asked whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act (the "act"), chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 124152.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit ("DART") received a request for two categories of information concerning "[a]ny and all EEO Affirmative Action Report and Semi-Annual" for a specified period and "all information in file dealing with EEO complaint filed by Zenaida Garcia." In response to the request, you submitted to this office for review the information you assert is responsive. You state that documents responsive to the first category of information concerning the annual reports "have been provided to the requestor." You contend, however, that the records responsive to the second category, relating to Zenaida Garcia, are excepted from disclosure under sections 552.101 and 552.117 of the Government Code. We have considered the exceptions and arguments you raise, and have reviewed the information submitted.

Section 552.101 excepts "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." Section 552.101 encompasses both common-law and constitutional privacy. For information to be protected from public disclosure under the common-law right of privacy, the information must meet the criteria set out in Industrial Foundation of the South v. Texas Industrial Accident Board, 540 S.W.2d 668 (Tex. 1976), cert. denied, 430 U.S. 931 (1977). Information must be withheld from the public when (1) it is highly intimate and embarrassing such that its release would be highly objectionable to a person of ordinary sensibilities, and (2) there is no legitimate public interest in its disclosure. Id. at 685; Open Records Decision No. 611 at 1 (1992).

You state that "DART believes that the responsive documents containing details into allegations of misconduct," are subject to the criteria set out in Industrial Foundation. However, we note that the records at issue relate to the job performance and work behavior of public employees. There is a legitimate public interest in the work behavior of a public employee and how he or she performs job functions. Open Records Decision Nos. 470 at 4 (1987) (public has legitimate interest in job performance of public employees), 444 (1986) (public has legitimate interest in knowing reasons for dismissal, demotion, promotion, or resignation of public employees), 423 at 2 (1984)(scope of public employee privacy is narrow). Therefore, having reviewed the information at issue, we did not find any information which is protected by the common-law right to privacy pursuant to section 552.101. Furthermore, since much of the submitted records concern the requestor, we note that the right of privacy is personal to an individual.(1)

See generally Attorney General Opinion H-917 (1976); Open Records Decision No. 272 (1981).

We next consider your assertion that the records at issue include information that may be confidential pursuant to section 552.117 of the Government Code. Section 552.117 of the Government Code excepts from public disclosure information relating to the home address, home telephone number, and social security number of a current or former government employee or official, as well as information revealing whether that employee or official has family members. Section 552.117 requires DART to withhold this information for an official, employee, or former employee who requested that this information be kept confidential under section 552.024. See Open Records Decision Nos. 622 (1994), 455 (1987). In this instance, if the individuals whose information is at issue have "requested that this information not be made available to the public," then such information must be withheld. You may not, however, withhold this information if the employee had not made a request for confidentiality under section 552.024 prior to the time this request for the documents was made. Whether a particular piece of information is public must be determined at the time the request for it is made. Open Records Decision No. 530 at 5 (1989). Accordingly, you must redact the information subject to section 552.117 wherever it is located in the submitted records.(2)

Finally, we must consider whether some of the requested information must be withheld pursuant to section 552.130 of the Government Code. Section 552.130 to the Public Information Act governs the release and use of information obtained from motor vehicle records. Section 552.130 provides in relevant part as follows:

(a) Information is excepted from the requirement of Section 552.021 if the information relates to:

(1) a motor vehicle operator's or driver's license or permit issued by an agency of this state;

(2) a motor vehicle title or registration issued by an agency of this state; or

(3) a personal identification document issued by an agency of this state or a local agency authorized to issue an identification document.

(b) Information described by Subsection (a) may be released only if, and in the manner, authorized by Chapter 730, Transportation Code.

Gov't Code 552.130. Section 552.130 provides that information is excepted from disclosure if it relates to a motor vehicle title or registration issued by a state agency. This type of information may be released only as provided under chapter 730 of the Transportation Code. Accordingly, you must redact the information subject to section 552.130 wherever it is located in the submitted records. The remaining information must be released to the requestor.

We are resolving this matter with an informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and should not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.


Sam Ha
Assistan BRttorney General
Open Records Division


Ref.: ID# 124152

cc: Ms. Zenaida Ga
11328 Rupley
Dallas, Texas 5
(w/o enclosures


1Section 552.023 grants an individual or an individual's representative access to information that is otherwise excepted from required public disclosure based on a law that protects that individual's privacy interests. See Open Records Decision No. 587 (1991).

2We also note that if an individual's social security number was obtained or maintained by a governmental body pursuant to any provision of law, enacted on or after October 1, 1990, it is confidential pursuant to section 405(c)(2)(C)(viii) of title 42 of the United States Code. Section 552.352 of the Public Information Act imposes criminal penalties for the release of confidential information.

POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US
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POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US
An Equal Employment Opportunity Employer

Home | ORLs