Knowledgebase-Certain Employee Records Subject to the Open Records Act


Information Product

Title:Certain Employee Records Subject to the Open Records Act
Summary:MTAS was asked whether an employee’s medical information contained in a first injury report was confidential and therefore not subject to disclosure.
Original Author:Bingham, Pamela
Co-Author:
Product Create Date:04/26/2000
Last Reviewed on::10/03/2017
Subject:Personnel--Laws and regulations; Records management--Open records
Type:Legal Opinion
Legal Opinion:

Reference Documents:

Text of Document: This is in response to your question of this morning with respect to whether certain employee records are subject to the Tennessee Public Records Act (TPRA). In particular, you asked if an employee’s medical information contained in a first injury report was confidential and therefore not subject to disclosure.

The answer is yes, such information is confidential.

Tenn. Code Ann. 50-3-702, relevant to accident reports, provides in pertinent part:

(b) The employer's first report of work injury records which are maintained by the bureau are confidential. After completing a standard authorization form which shall be provided by the bureau, an employee or an employee's attorney may obtain a copy of any report that concerns the employee's work injury. An employer may inquire in writing of the bureau to determine whether a job applicant has responded truthfully concerning any prior work injury. Nothing contained within the provisions of this subsection (b) shall be construed or implemented to alter or amend existing law pertaining to Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA Form 300 reports....

One exception is that the foregoing does not apply to a collective bargaining agent as certified by the national labor relations board. Since municipalities, with few exceptions, are not authorized to enter into collective bargaining agreements, that exception is unlikely to come into play very often.

Please remember that these legal opinions were written based on the facts of a given city at a certain time. The laws referenced in any opinion may have changed or may not be applicable to your city or circumstances.

Always consult with your city attorney or an MTAS consultant before taking any action based on information contained in this database.