FOIA Advisor

Q&A: personnel file at private company with government contracts

Q&A (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Q.   I work for a company with federal, state and local government contracts. I requested all information (employment, training records) they have on me. I was told that they couldn't give me that information. How do I FOIA that information?

A.  Private companies are not subject to the federal Freedom of Information Act; they are excluded from the statute's definition of an agency.  Moreover, a private company is not converted to a federal agency merely by doing business with federal (or state or local) agencies.  If the federal government extensively supervises the day-to-day operations of a private company, however, it might then be deemed a government-controlled corporation subject to FOIA.  You have not identified the State in which your employer is located, but most State freedom of information laws are modeled on the federal FOIA.  Click here for links that will enable you to locate your State's freedom of information law.  

Although FOIA may not be a remedy, you might wish to contact your State's labor department to find out whether you have the right to access your personnel file under State law.  The following article appears to answer that question, but I cannot verify its accuracy.