Working in the Sunshine State: Facts Every College Employee Should Know

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Did you know that as an employee of Valencia, you work for a public institution? Under Florida’s Sunshine Laws, Valencia records are subject to public inspection and disclosure, including but not limited to records of employment such as your name, title and salary information.

Now there are many exceptions to this, including some financial records, student records, social security numbers and other identifiers. However, you should assume that all work-related information is public record, so for this reason, we ask that you are mindful when handling records and documents and sending communication, especially email.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can anyone request a public record?

A: Yes. In accordance with Florida’s Public Records laws, Florida Statutes Chapter 119, records relating to Valencia’s work are subject to public inspection unless they are exempted from disclosure by the Legislature.

Any person can request, inspect and copy public records. An individual does not have to state a purpose or special interest to obtain access to a record and is not required to present identification.

Q: What type of information can be requested?

A: In Florida’s Public Records Law, Chapter 119, public records are defined as “all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software” or other material made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by the College. For example, your email is a public record when it is prepared and transmitted or received in connection with official Valencia College business and when it is intended to perpetuate, communicate, or formalize knowledge. Also, most personnel records are public records, including but not limited to employment applications, your name, job title, salary and email address.

Q: Do I have protections to preclude my information from being shared?

A: There are more than 500 separate legislative exemptions from the Public Records Law, including social security numbers, faculty performance evaluations and bank account and credit card numbers; however, most information collected and provided by a public institution is open for disclosure.

Read The Juice next week for additional information on exemptions pertaining to public records.

There are many intricacies in Florida’s Sunshine Laws regarding public record disclosure, so please do not try to make a determination on your own. All Valencia polices, legislative updates and information can be found on the Office for Policy and General Counsel Web page for your reference.

If you receive a request for information, contact our Office of Policy and General Counsel immediately.

2 Comments

  • Dana said:

    Thank you for posting this. I actually wasn't aware of this info.

    AMWed, 28 Jan 2015 09:01:33 +0000Wed, 28 Jan 2015 09:01:33 +0000am15,9:01 am

    • Chara Young said:

      Glad you found this post informative. Be sure to check out this week’s post – Working in the Sunshine State, Part II: Important Details on Public Records – that gives more details about the types of requests the College receives.

      PMTue, 03 Feb 2015 18:38:00 +0000Tue, 03 Feb 2015 18:38:00 +0000pm15,6:38 pm

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