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Much of the information in employment and personnel records is considered confidential or administrative. However, if someone works in the public sector, you can find out about their hiring and retirement dates, job title and starting and ending salaries, among several other facts. Companies that contract with governments are also subject to certain state sunshine laws if their work is funded by taxpayers. And there may be situations where resumes, applications and work history records of individuals and companies become available after they are selected for a municipal job, promoted or recommended to another entity.
Visit the records office where the person you are researching works. If the subject works for a local government, a school or any other entity that is funded by tax dollars, ask the records clerk for all existing documents on the subject's employment that can be released under Indiana's sunshine laws. File a Freedom of Information request that specifically states or describes which record(s) you want, and include your contact information on it so someone can get back to you when they've determined if such records can be released. According to In.gov, the official web site for the state of Indiana's government, releaseable information includes: names; salary or hourly wage; workplace address; workplace telephone number; job title and description; the employee's education, training and previous work experience; dates of hire and resignation. Depending on the employee's status, you are also entitled to know the status of any formal charges against her, and which action was taken that resulted in her being suspended, demoted or fired.
Check other departments for information about a third-party or contractor's history with the municipality (or school district). This could include project reports from the highway department, engineer's office, police department or other public agencies that detail whether someone's work is satisfactory. Inter-office memos are exempt from public record laws, but if the documents are provided to the local legislature or school board, then you, too, have a right to them. Likewise, if the decision-making body selects an employee or contractor after reviewing the party's resume or profile, that document also becomes public record.
Utilize existing web sites to get information on private companies. Tax returns for nonprofit agencies, called 990s, are public record. Request them from the agencies themselves or search the GuideStar web site. The 990s list the names, titles and salaries of the highest-paid employees and may include a value of their benefits package. Search previous years' 990s to monitor employee raises and note if their job title changed. In the private sector, you can find a limited amount of information on some companies by accessing online services like Dunn & Bradstreet. Most charge a fee for company profiles.
Employers in the private sector aren't subject to sunshine and Freedom of Information laws.
Never assume your FOI request will be processed immediately. State and federal laws allow agencies up to five working days to respond to your request and, if the record can be released, up to 20 days to process it. They can also charge you for copies. If your request is denied for any reason, find out to whom your appeal should be directed.
- Employers in the private sector aren't subject to sunshine and Freedom of Information laws.
- Never assume your FOI request will be processed immediately. State and federal laws allow agencies up to five working days to respond to your request and, if the record can be released, up to 20 days to process it. They can also charge you for copies. If your request is denied for any reason, find out to whom your appeal should be directed.
Aaron Gifford is based in New York. He has been on staff at the "Syracuse Post-Standard," the "Watertown Daily Times" and the "Oneida Daily Dispatch." He's also written for "Long Island Newsday," "Empire State Report" magazine and "In Good Health." He has been writing professionally since 1995. Gifford holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University at Buffalo.