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OGC will assist you in determining what information, if any, can be released. If personnel file information is released to anyone other than the employee to whom it pertains, a supervisor must create a log that tracks the disclosure. The log must include the following information, correlating with each request to view personnel file information: the name of employee, the information disclosed, the information requested, and the name and address of the person to whom the disclosure is made. This requirement does not apply to disclosures related to a credit check.
Upon request, the log of disclosures shall be made available to the employee to whom it pertains. Personnel files may include many different types of documents. However, documents such as notifications of salary adjustments, employment work plans and tenure clock extension paperwork may also be considered personnel file documents. They include:. Supervisors including deans and department heads should secure personnel files so that only authorized access is permitted.
Personnel files should be maintained in one location unless the supervisor chooses to maintain personnel file documents in various locations. If files are maintained in various locations, a directory of the various categories of required personnel files should be maintained to facilitate easy and quick access to the files. Hard copies of personnel files should be stored in a secure and locked file cabinet in a secure location with proper access restrictions.
Supervisors who elect to store personnel files electronically should ensure that the files should be maintained with appropriate network security, proper access restrictions, and regular data backup. Electronic personnel file information made available to authorized committees for purposes of performance review, or to the employee, should be in a format that prohibits unauthorized modification. It is expected that the supervisor or designee will be responsible for determining appropriate categories and security levels for electronic folders containing personnel files and for creating new folders as necessary to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to the files.
However, a public body could go into closed session if an open session would reveal information that is a trade secret under G. All grand jury proceedings are exempt from the Open Meetings Law. In addition, G. All persons admitted to the grand jury room, other than a witness, must first take an oath to keep the proceedings secret; breach of the oath is punishable as contempt. The issue of closed sessions to consult with legal counsel was at the heart of a North Carolina Court of Appeals case.
Most importantly, the court addresses burden of proof. On remand, the trial court examined the minutes from the meeting and found that it had been improperly closed. Not applicable.
In North Carolina, public employees are prohibited by law from engaging in collective bargaining. Under G.
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General personnel issues may not be considered in a closed session, and a public body must address filling a vacancy in the public body during an open meeting. The law was amended in to eliminate the exemption permitting closed session discussions of independent contractors.
Can I See What’s in My Personnel File? | UNC School of Government
Inasmuch as G. Therefore, to the extent that the basis for potential disciplinary action may stem from such a charge or complaint, such disciplinary matters may be discussed in executive session. Again, G.
The Open Meetings Law, in G. Once negotiations are completed, final authorization to purchase or lease property must be given at an open meeting. There is no authorization for discussing the disposition of property in closed session. Following the Attorney General opinion, the Winston-Salem Journal brought two lawsuits challenging government bodies from withholding information that should have been public, and the trial courts rendered different rulings.
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In Piedmont Pub. Surry Co. Kernersville Board of Aldermen , Case No. Therefore, we hold that a public body, such as defendants here, may not reserve for discussion in closed session, under the guise of G. The question of whether student disciplinary proceedings are public was litigated in DTH Pub.
The University defended on the basis that the Court is not a public body within the meaning of the Open Meetings Law and that the records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U. The trial court found that the Undergraduate Court was a public body subject to the Open Meetings Law but that it was entitled to conduct its inquiries in closed session pursuant to FERPA.
Noting the changes to the definition of public body, the Court of Appeals had little trouble finding the Undergraduate Court subject to the Open Meetings Law. Thus, the Undergraduate Court members are clearly appointed and confirmed by those who are authorized to do so under the laws of this State and pursuant to the policies and regulations of UNC-CH and UNC. The North Carolina Open Meetings Law provides direct and immediate access to the courts by any person who is barred from attending a meeting of a public body or who otherwise becomes aware of a threatened or actual violation of the Open Meetings Law.
The aggrieved person is not required to complain or appeal to the public body, to exhaust any administrative remedies, or to comply with any other requirements or prerequisites before filing suit. Any person can file suit to challenge being barred from attending a meeting of a public body and seek injunctive relief allowing access to the meeting. HBS v. Cumberland Co. North Carolina has no formal form or procedure, other than court action, for enforcing or obtaining rulings concerning the Open Meetings Law.
North Carolina citizens faced with an apparent violation of the Open Meetings Law sometimes seek informal assistance from the state attorney general.
While such a course may be helpful, particularly in the case of a glaring or flagrant violation, it more often proves to be of little or no utility. Moreover, the North Carolina Attorney General issues formal, written opinions only in response to formal requests from public officials or public employees. Thus, suits seeking injunctive relief may be filed in District Court or in Superior Court. In view of the likelihood that suits brought pursuant to the Open Meetings Law are likely to seek both an injunction and a declaratory judgment, suits brought to enforce the Open Meetings Law generally will be filed in Superior Court.
Suits arising out of Open Meetings Law violations by local public bodies, such as city councils, school boards, and boards of county commissioners, should be filed in the county in which the public body conducts its business and exercises its jurisdiction. Most suits arising out of violations by state bodies should be filed in the Superior Court of Wake County, where such bodies generally conduct their business. There is no time limit set forth in the statute for seeking a ruling on the propriety of a closed session or for seeking injunctive relief. A suit brought under G.
There are no special pleading requirements for a lawsuit brought pursuant to the Open Meetings Law. Of course, public bodies are obliged to comply with its requirements at the time of meeting.
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If a meeting was held in violation of the law, it is common practice to demand access to the full minutes of the meeting in order to review what transpired. If the request for minutes is denied, the next step is filing a lawsuit. Beyond negotiation with the public body, the only redress for an Open Meetings Law violation is the filing of a lawsuit. City of Burlington v. The City sought review from the N.
Supreme Court which, after briefing and oral argument, ruled that discretionary review had been improvidently granted. The statute contains a provision that actions brought under the Open Meetings Law will be set down for immediate hearing and that all subsequent proceedings shall be accorded priority. Although a person seeking relief under the Open Meetings Law is entitled to proceed pro se , such procedure is generally not advisable because the public body invariably will be represented by counsel.
The courts have the ability to render mandatory injunctive relief to enjoin a continuing violation of the Open Meetings Law. The courts have the ability to declare null and void any action taken by a public body in violation of the Open Meetings Law. In making such a determination, the court must consider six relevant factors:.
The courts have the ability to enjoin threatened violations and recurrence of past violations of the Open Meetings Law. The Open Meetings Law does not prescribe or require any particular pleading format. However, complaints filed pursuant to the Open Meetings Law often include a request that it be treated as a petition for extraordinary injunctive relief, in the nature of a writ of mandamus.
The Open Meetings Law does not prescribe any time limit for filing a suit for injunctive relief. In view of the likelihood that suits brought pursuant to the Open Meetings Law are likely to seek both an injunction and a declaratory judgment, suits brought to enforce the Open Meetings Law generally are filed in Superior Court. The courts have applied this provision and awarded attorney fees in several instances. Town of Kitty Hawk ex rel. Kitty Hawk Town Council , N.