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Title 5Chapter ISubchapter BPart 297 → Subpart B

Title 5: Administrative Personnel

Subpart B—Request for Access

§297.201   General provisions.
§297.202   Methods of access.
§297.203   Access by the parent of a minor or by the legal guardian of an individual declared to be incompetent.
§297.204   Access by the representative of the data subject.
§297.205   Access to medical records.
§297.206   Fees charged by the Office.
§297.207   Denials of access and appeals with respect to such denials.
§297.208   Judicial review.

§297.201   General provisions.

(a) Individual's requesting access to records pertaining to them that are maintained in a system of records should submit a written request to the appropriate system manager and state that the request is being made pursuant to the Privacy Act of 1974.

(b) The Office or agency will require proof of identity from a requester. The Office or agency reserves the right to determine the adequacy of any such proof. The general identifying items the Office will require a requester to provide when a request is made to the Office are—

(1) Full name, signature, and home address;

(2) Social security number (for systems of records that include this identifier);

(3) Current or last place and dates of Federal employment, when appropriate and,

(4) Date and place of birth.

(c) An individual may be represented by another when requesting access to records.

§297.202   Methods of access.

(a) The methods for allowing access to records, when such access has been granted by the Office or agency, are:

(1) Inspection in person in the designated office during the hours specified by the Office or agency; or

(2) Transfer of records at the option of the Office or agency to another more convenient Federal facility.

(b) Generally, Office of Personnel Management offices will not furnish certified copies of records. When copies are to be furnished, they may be provided as determined by the Office and may require payment of any fee levied in accordance with the Office's established fee schedule.

(c) When the requester seeks to obtain original documentation, the Office reserves the right to limit the request to copies of the original records. Original records should be made available for review only in the presence of the system manager or designee. An agency should consult with the Office when it receives a request for original documentation. Section 2701(a) of title 18 of the United States Code makes it a crime to conceal, mutilate, obliterate, or destroy any record filed in a public office, or to attempt to do so.

§297.203   Access by the parent of a minor or by the legal guardian of an individual declared to be incompetent.

(a) A parent, legal guardian, or custodian of a minor, upon presentation of suitable personal identification, may access on behalf of a minor any record pertaining to the minor in a system of records maintained by the Office.

(b) A legal guardian, upon presentation of documentation establishing guardianship, may access on behalf of an individual declared to be incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction, any record pertaining to that individual in a system of records maintained by the Office.

(c) Minors are not precluded from exercising personally those rights provided them by the Privacy Act.

§297.204   Access by the representative of the data subject.

A record may be disclosed to a representative of the individual to whom the record pertains after the system manager receives written authorization from the individual who is the subject of the record.

§297.205   Access to medical records.

When a request for access involves medical or psychological records that the system manager believes requires special handling, the requester should be advised that the material will be provided only to a physician designated by the data subject. Upon receipt of the designation and upon verification of the physician's identity, the records will be made available to the physician, who will have full authority to disclose those records to the data subject when appropriate.

§297.206   Fees charged by the Office.

(a) No fees will be charged for search and review time expended by the Office to produce a record, or for making a photostatic copy of the record, or for having it personally reviewed by the data subject, when a record is retrieved from a system of records pertaining to that data subject. Additional copies provided may be charged under the Office's established fee schedule.

(b) When the fees chargeable under this section will amount to more than $25, the requester will be notified and payment of fees may be required before the records are provided.

(c) Remittance should be made by either a personal check, bank draft, or a money order that is made payable to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and addressed to the appropriate system manager.

§297.207   Denials of access and appeals with respect to such denials.

(a) If an access request is denied, the Office or agency response will be in writing and will include a statement of the reasons for the denial and the procedures available to appeal the denial, including the name, position title, and address of the Office official responsible for the review.

(b) Nothing in this part should be construed to entitle a data subject the right to access any information compiled in reasonable anticipation of a civil action or proceeding.

(c) For denials of access made under this subpart, the following procedures apply:

(1) For initial denials made by an agency, when the record is maintained in an Office Governmentwide system of records, a request for adminstrative review should be made only to the Assistant Director for Workforce Information, Personnel Systems and Oversight Group, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 1900 E Street NW., Washington, DC 20415.

(2) For denials initially made by an Office official, when a record is maintained in an internal or central system of records, a request for administrative review should be made to the Information and Privacy Appeals Counsel, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 1900 E Street NW., Washington, DC 20415.

(3) Any administrative review decision that either partially or fully supports the initial decision and denies access to the material the individual originally sought should state the requester's right to seek judicial review of the final administrative decision.

§297.208   Judicial review.

Upon receipt of notification that the denial of access has been upheld on administrative review, the requester has the right to judicial review of the decision for up to 2 years from the date on which the cause of action arose. Judicial review may be sought in the district court of the United States in the district in which—

(a) The requester resides;

(b) The requester has his or her principal place of business; or

(c) The agency records are situated; or it may be sought in the district court of the District of Columbia.

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