Colorado appeals court hears arguments in dispute over disclosure of teacher sick-leave records

An attorney for the Jefferson County Education Association argued this week that a Colorado district court judge erred in ruling that teacher sick-leave records can be disclosed to the public.

The lower-court judge made the personnel exemption in the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) “an empty shell” when she narrowly defined confidential records to include only a public employee’s “personal” information, JCEA lawyer Sharyn Dreyer told a three-judge panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Interpreting CORA in this way would protect from disclosure “maybe one or two pieces of paper in an entire multi-volume personnel file,” Dreyer said during oral arguments. “It must be presumed that the legislature intended to create a genuine exemption that actually provides some meaningful protection for personnel records.” Continue…