As in Celmins, the plaintiffs requested these documents to pursue more effectively grievances over the promotions. The IRS withheld only data that it felt would allow plaintiffs to identify the individual to whom a particular work evaluation or background statement pertained. It is uncontested that this data would allow such identification.
In determining whether this identification of the applicants is an unwarranted invasion of their privacy, the Court must consider the same public interests and privacy interests it considered in Celmins. Furthermore, as in Celmins, this contested information is available only from the IRS, and has been denied plaintiffs in the grievance discovery process. In this case, however, it does not appear that all the information requested is necessary to air the grievances fully and thus vindicate the public interest.
There is no reason to intrude upon the privacy of the applicants by linking them with their work evaluations or statements of education, awards, and training unless it will significantly aid plaintiffs in pursuing their grievances. It is obviously important that the plaintiffs know which work evaluations and background statements belong to the successful applicants. Otherwise they cannot even compare their qualifications with the qualifications of those who got the promotions. Thus the IRS must indicate which of the documents and which scores on the worksheets relate to the individuals who received the promotions. This identification having been made there is no reason to withhold any information regarding the education, awards, or training of these individuals.
Yet plaintiffs concede that there is no need for them to know to whom the other work evaluations applied and promotion applications belonged. The agency was thus acting properly by withholding some identifying data in an attempt to balance competing interests. The deletion of identifying material in the narrative comments on the promotion appraisals and its replacement with nonidentifying paraphrased comments was justified under exemption 6. However, the withholding of information about an applicant's education, training, and awards from the panel scoresheet makes it most difficult for plaintiffs to air their grievances fully. It cannot be justified under exemption 6. This data must be released, but it may be paraphrased, as was done on the promotion appraisals, in such a way as to avoid identifying the individuals involved. It may be withheld from the applications since they have already been released with the applicant's name, and since it will not significantly aid plaintiffs to have this type of information in both places.
The IRS refused to release any information about one applicant for the Muncie position because he was the only individual applying for that position alone and it would be obvious which application and evaluations were his. Assuming this individual was not a successful applicant, the additional information from the release of the application and evaluations would not greatly enhance the processing of plaintiff's grievances. This invasion of privacy would be unwarranted. The agency may continue to withhold these documents under exemption 6.
Plaintiffs' motions for summary judgment are granted to the extent enumerated above. Defendant's motions for summary judgment are denied.