document request under the Federal Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, which mirrors the Delaware Freedom of Information Act with regard to exemption from the disclosure of personnel files.
The Third Circuit has also addressed this issue in I.B.E.W. Local U. No. 5 v. U.S. Dept. of HUD, 852 F.2d 87(3rd Cir. 1988). In this case, the union requested, under the Federal Freedom of Information Act, the names, addresses and Social Security numbers of non-union employees working for a federal contractor. The court also utilized a balancing approach and found that the public interest in disclosing employees' names and addresses clearly outweighed any privacy interest. However, the Court ruled that a privacy interest in Social Security numbers outweighed the public interest in disclosure. The court stated as follows:
The employees have a strong privacy interest in their Social Security numbers. Congress has recognized this privacy interest by making unlawful any denial of a right, benefit, or privilege by a government agency because of an individual's refusal to disclose his Social Security number. Privacy Act of 1974, Pub.L. 93-579, § 7, 88 Stat. 1896, 1909 (1974), reprinted in 5 U.S.C. § 552a note (1982). Moreover, in its report supporting the adoption of this provision, the Senate Committee stated that the extensive use of Social Security numbers as universal identifiers in both the public and private sectors is 'one of most serious manifestations of privacy concerns in the Nation.' S.Rep. No. 1183, 93d Cong., 2d Sess., reprinted in 1974 U.S. Code Cong. & Admin. News 6916, 6943.
Id. at 89. While the disclosure of contractor payroll records serves a significant public interest in ensuring compliance with the Davis-Bacon Act, a disclosure of employees' Social Security numbers constitutes a significant privacy concern and an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy in the absence of any evidence that the Social Security numbers are necessary to accomplish the objectives of the prevailing wage laws. Painting Ind. of Hawaii v. U.S. Dep. of Air Force, 756 F.Supp. 452 (Hawaii 1990).
Based on the federal case law and privacy concerns inherent in the exemption of personnel records from public records contained in 29 Del. C. § 10002(d)(1), we conclude that it is necessary to redact the Social Security numbers of the employees in providing responses to