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TITLE 40SOCIAL SERVICES AND ASSISTANCE
PART 20TEXAS WORKFORCE COMMISSION
CHAPTER 815UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
SUBCHAPTER ECONFIDENTIALITY AND DISCLOSURE OF STATE UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION INFORMATION
RULE §815.165Exceptions to Confidentiality Requirements

(a) The Agency may disclose public domain information. For purposes of this section, public domain information includes directory information about the organization of the state, the Commission, and appellate authorities, as well as the names and positions of officials and employees; information about the state unemployment compensation law (and applicable federal law), provisions, rules, regulations, and interpretations, including statements of general policy and interpretations of general applicability; and any agreement relating to the administration of the state unemployment compensation law. Commission-designated precedent case digests from which all individually identifiable information has been removed constitute public domain information. Public domain information does not include information historically excepted from disclosure under the Public Information Act, Chapter 552, Texas Government Code, including, but not limited to, attorney/client privileged information; interagency memoranda containing advice, opinion, or recommendation to policy makers or decision makers; or other items historically excepted from disclosure under the Public Information Act.

(b) The Agency may disclose confidential unemployment compensation information about an individual or employer to that individual or employer, respectively , but in no event does this restrict the Agency from withholding information historically excepted from disclosure, including, but not limited to, confidential informant or attorney-client privileged information, or tax audit techniques.

(c) The Agency may disclose confidential unemployment compensation information if the requestor provides a written release signed by the individual or the employer whose records are requested, and if the written release demonstrates informed consent.

(d) The Agency may disclose confidential unemployment compensation information, based on informed consent, to the following:

  (1) An agent acting for or in the place of an individual or an employer by the authority of that individual or employer if the agent presents a written release signed by the party to be represented. If a written release is impossible or impracticable to obtain, the Agency may accept other documentation sufficient to establish informed consent.

  (2) An elected official performing constituent services provided the official presents reasonable evidence of authorization to obtain the information, such as a letter from the individual or employer requesting the elected official's assistance or a written record of a telephone request from the individual or employer that the individual or employer has authorized such disclosure.

  (3) A licensed attorney retained for purposes unrelated to the state's unemployment compensation law; if the attorney provides a written statement declaring that he or she has been retained to represent the individual or employer, the requirements of a written release will have been met. An attorney retained for purposes related to the state's unemployment compensation law may assert that he or she is representing the individual or employer, and such assertion need not be in writing.

  (4) A third party that is not acting as an agent, only if that entity provides the Commission with a copy of an informed consent release consistent with the requirements of §815.166 of this subchapter.

  (5) A third party seeking confidential information on an ongoing basis, only if that entity submits an informed consent release consistent with the requirements of §815.166 of this subchapter. This requirement applies even if the third party is an agent seeking information on an ongoing basis.

(e) The Agency may disclose confidential unemployment compensation information to a public official for use in the performance of his or her official duties, including the administration or enforcement of law or execution of the official responsibilities of a federal, state, or local elected official. Administration of law includes research related to the law administered by the public official. Execution of official responsibilities does not include solicitation of contributions or expenditures to or on behalf of a candidate for public or political office or a political party.

(f) The Agency may disclose confidential unemployment compensation information to a public official's agent or contractor if such disclosure is permissible under 20 C.F.R. §603.5(e) and only after evaluating the following factors:

  (1) The potential threat to the employer's or individual's privacy posed by an entity's collection, storage, maintenance, use, and possible misuse of confidential unemployment compensation information;

  (2) The costs associated with such disclosure;

  (3) The agent or contractor's ability to comply with the requirements in 20 C.F.R. §603.9 regarding safeguards and security of confidential unemployment compensation information;

  (4) The costs of enforcement, including investigation and assessment of penalties for misuse of data;

  (5) The costs to develop, monitor, and maintain systems sufficient to allow audit of the information;

  (6) The personnel, travel, and equipment expenses associated with periodic monitoring and on-site audits required by 20 C.F.R. §603.10; and

  (7) Whether the disclosure is for purposes of solicitation of contributions or expenditures to or on behalf of a candidate for public or political office or a political party.

(g) The Agency may disclose confidential unemployment compensation information to parties for purposes of claims adjudications, hearings, and appeals, consistent with this chapter.

(h) The Agency may disclose confidential unemployment compensation information to a federal official for purposes of UC program oversight and audits, including disclosures under 20 C.F.R. Parts 29 and 601, as well as under C.F.R. Parts 96 and 97.

(i) The confidentiality requirements of this chapter do not apply to information collected exclusively for statistical purposes under a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Further, this chapter's requirements do not restrict or impose any condition on the transfer of any other information to BLS under an agreement, or the disclosure or use of such information by BLS.


Source Note: The provisions of this §815.165 adopted to be effective July 28, 2008, 33 TexReg 5982

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