Ruling impacts pay data submission in the EEO-1 Component 2 filing
Under the Freedom of Information Act’s (FOIA’s) Exemption 4 protects “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person [that is] privileged or confidential.” This language has led to much confusion and many courts have determined that information should only been deemed confidential under Exemption 4 if it can be shown that its disclosure would cause “substantial competitive harm.”
On June 24, 2019 the Supreme Court clarified Exemption 4 through an opinion in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media. The court’s majority opinion overruled the “substantial competitive harm” standard and held that the information provided to the government is “confidential” under FOIA Exemption 4. Therefore, the court ruled that such information is not subject to public disclosure if the information is “both customarily and actually treated as private by its owner and provided to the government under an assurance of privacy.”
The ruling should make federal contractors rest a little easier knowing that the sensitive pay data to be submitted in the EEO-1 Component 2 filing would not be made public.