Personnel Records Definition in Maryland

In Kirwan v. Diamondback, 352 Md. 74, 81, 721 A.2d 196 (1998), the Court of Appeals held that the parking tickets of University of Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams were not "personnel records" under the Act because they "do not relate to Coach Williams's hiring, discipline, promotion, dismissal, or any matter involving his status as an employee." Id. at 83. The Court again expounded on the meaning of "personnel records" in Office of the Governor v. Washington Post Co., 360 Md. 520, 759 A.2d 249 (2000). There, the Court held, in part, that telephone numbers and in-person meetings involving the Governor on the subject of appointed executive positions were not personnel records because they "would not relate to the discipline, promotion, dismissal, status, job performance, or achievement of an existing or former employee." Id. at 548. Under SG 10-616(i), "a custodian shall deny inspection," except to "the person in interest," "of a personnel record of an individual, including an application, performance rating, or scholastic achievement information." This exemption is "intended to address the reasonable expectation of privacy that a person in interest has" in his or her personnel records. Univ. Sys. of Md. v. Balt. Sun Co., 381 Md. 79, 99-100, 847 A.2d 427 (2004). The Court of Appeals has explained that, although the listed examples in the statute (employment application, performance rating, and scholastic achievement information) were "probably not intended to be exhaustive, the list does reflect a legislative intent that 'personnel records' mean those documents that directly pertain to employment and an employee's ability to perform a job." Kirwan, 352 Md. at 82-83.