The Oklahoman on Thursday asked to intervene in a lawsuit a state labor organization filed to block an open records request by the newspaper.
The Oklahoma Public Employees Association on Monday asked a judge to prevent the state Office of Personnel Management from releasing state worker birth dates the newspaper requested under the state Open Records Act. "The Oklahoman clearly has an interest relating to the subject of this action,” the newspaper’s attorney, Michael Minnis, wrote in the court paperwork. The Oklahoman was not named in the lawsuit. A hearing on OPEA’s request is set for Wednesday in Oklahoma City before Oklahoma County District Judge Noma Gurich. The newspaper requested the birth dates so reporters can conduct accurate background checks of state workers. Birth dates are a crucial component of background checks because they help identify people with common names. Other government agencies have provided birth dates of employees. OPEA’s lawsuit claims releasing the birth dates would create identify theft and safety concerns.