|Freedom of Information Act (HR FAQs)|
Q: What does the Freedom of Information Act address?
A: The Freedom of Information Act addresses the availability of public
records and the accessibility to public meetings of public bodies.
Information To Be Disclosed
Q: What employment information does the Freedom of Information Act generally
make public information?
A: The names, sex, race, title, and dates of employment of all employees
and officers of public bodies are generally made public information by the
Freedom of Information Act.
Q: What does the Freedom of Information Act generally allow a public body
not to disclose regarding employment information?
A: In general, the Freedom of Information Act allows, but does not
require, a public body to exempt from disclosure the following employment
1. information of a personal nature which would constitute unreasonable
invasion of personal privacy;
2. all compensation with certain exemptions;
3. information discussed in a public meeting during executive session; and
4. certain materials on not fewer than the final three applicants under
consideration for a position.
Exceptions to Disclosure
Q: What are the limitations on disclosing a public employee's salary?
A: An employee’s salary can be disclosed within the following
A. Employees earning $50,000 or more annually, part-time employees, persons
paid an honoraria or other compensation for special appearances, performances,
or the like, and employees at the level of agency/department head.
Disclose exact compensation.
B. Classified/unclassified employees, including contract instructional
employees (not subject to A. above) earning $30,001 to $49,999.
Disclose compensation level within a range of $4,000 beginning at $30,001.
C. Classified employees (not subject to A. above) earning $30,000 or less
Disclose the position's salary range.
D. Unclassified employees, including contract instructional employees (not
subject to A. above) earning $30,000 or less
Disclose compensation level within a range of $4,000, such ranges to commence
at $2,000 and increase in increments of $4,000.
Q: Can an employee request that a public body hold a meeting open to the
public to discuss that employee's employment information?
A: If an adversary hearing involving the employee is being held, the
employee has the right to demand that the hearing be conducted publicly.
Q: What information under the Freedom of Information Act can be released
about the applicants for a position?
A: Generally, all materials on at least the final three applicants under
consideration for a position, regardless of form, gathered by a public body
during a search to fill an employment position may be released. The information
that may not be released includes the applicant’s income tax returns, medical
records, social security number, or information otherwise exempt from
Cost of Information
Q: May an agency charge a fee for information requested under the Freedom of
A: The public body may establish and collect fees not to exceed the
actual cost of searching for or making copies of records. Fees charged by a
public body must be uniform for copies of the same record or document.
Response Time Frames
Q: What are the time frames for responding to a Freedom of Information
A: Generally, an agency must respond to a written request within 15 days
(excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) of the receipt of the
request, except as otherwise provided by SC Code of Laws § 30-4-40, in
accordance with reasonable rules concerning time and place of access.
Q: Is a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act
required to be in writing?
A: Generally, a request to the Office of Human Resources must be in
writing for information under the Freedom of Information Act except when the
requestor appears in person for certain information under the SC Code of Laws §