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FIA-13-0040 - In the Matter of DeShonne E. Massey Sr.

On July 17, 2013, OHA issued a decision denying an appeal (Appeal) from a FOIA determination issued by the Office of Information Resources (OIR).  The Appellant filed a two-part request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  The request sought 1) copies of time and attendance records for OHA employees, and 2) copies of counseling memoranda or disciplinary actions involving time and attendance for OHA employees, including, but not limited to, Avery R. Webster and XXXXX.  In response to the first part of the request, the OIR released one document in part, withholding portions pursuant to Exemption 6 of the FOIA.  In response to the second part of the request, the OIR informed the Appellant that it neither confirmed nor denied the existence of any such records (a so-called Glomar response).  The Appellant challenged the OIR’s invocation of Exemption 6, its use of a Glomar response, and the adequacy of the search.  After reviewing the unredacted documents, OHA determined that the OIR properly invoked Exemption 6 as the withheld information would reveal information about particular employees’ use of sick leave and vacation time.  This significant privacy interest outweighs the relatively minimal public interest in shedding light on the government’s activities.  OHA also determined that the OIR’s issuance of a Glomar response was appropriate because providing any other response would necessarily reveal potentially embarrassing information about the named individuals and would therefore constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.  Finally, OHA reviewed the search conducted by the OIR and determined that it was reasonably calculated to uncover responsive documents.  Accordingly, the Appeal was denied.