Supreme Court: state employee birth dates are public record

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A divided Washington state Supreme Court has ruled that birth dates of state employees are public records that are subject to disclosure.

In a 5-4 ruling Thursday, the majority said that that there was no statutory or constitutional allowance that would preclude the release of the information. The majority reversed a Court of Appeals ruling and reinstated a lower court ruling that denied a motion to permanently enjoin release of state employee names, birthdates, and email addresses.

The dissenting justices disagreed with the majority’s interpretation of the law and said the release of such information makes employees vulnerable to cybercriminals.

The case stems from a 2016 request from the Freedom Foundation, a conservative group that had been seeking disclosure of records of union-represented employees in order to contact them as part of its effort to reduce the size and influence of public-sector unions. Several unions sought to stop the release of the records.