DOD employees and that the employees provide an extensive amount of information in response to other portions of the security questionnaire. Allowing the government to compel disclosure of financial information on so flimsy a basis as the one asserted here would render the constitutional right to privacy a nullity.
The facts surrounding the fourth plaintiff's claim are somewhat different and tip the balance in favor of compelling disclosure. As this individual has the authority to bind the government in contractual matters and is responsible for ensuring contractor compliance, he may be subject to a great degree of financial temptation in performing his everyday duties. On this basis, the Court finds that the government may legitimately compel him to provide information regarding his finances.
Mental Health and Counseling Questions
Plaintiffs claim that the questionnaire provisions demanding information regarding their mental health violate their constitutional right to privacy. Plaintiffs have a protected privacy interest in information relating to any mental health counseling and treatment which they have received. Cf. United States v. Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 638 F.2d 570, 577 (3d Cir. 1980). It is difficult to imagine any information more inherently personal than that at issue here. The government contends that information regarding the employees' mental health is pertinent to making a predictive judgment of reliability and trustworthiness. The Court must once again balance the individual plaintiffs' privacy interests against the government's interest in compelling disclosure.
With respect to two of the individual plaintiffs, there is no claim that either of them performs job duties directly affecting national security. In addition, the government has observed these two individuals at work for decades and has not seen any indication of emotional problems affecting their work. On this basis, the Court finds that the government has failed to justify so intrusive an interference in the private lives of these two plaintiffs.
The other two plaintiffs, however, present a different situation. Both have identified substance abuse problems and have taken leaves of absence from work to obtain counseling and treatment for their problems. As to these two plaintiffs, the government has reason that they may suffer from emotional problems which will affect their work performance. As such, the Court finds that the government's inquiry was justified with respect to these two individuals.
Finally, plaintiffs challenge the Release Form on various constitutional and statutory grounds. That form leaves nothing untouched, affording authority to the government to obtain information from practically any source about any aspect of an employee's life, no matter how unrelated it may be to the employee's job performance. The Court cannot imagine any government interest, with the possible exception of direct threats to national security, under which such so vast an intrusion by the government could be justified.
In the instant case, the government has not shown that even one of the individual plaintiffs is in a position to pose a direct threat to national security. Individuals do not give up every expectation of privacy simply because they are on the government payroll. Nor do they give up every expectation of privacy simply due to the fact that they work for DOD. The Court concludes that the government has failed to present any interests which would justify so intrusive an interference in the private lives of the plaintiffs in this case.
Accordingly, plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment will be granted as to the release form. The individual plaintiffs may not be required to complete the release. The release forms already executed shall be removed from the government's files and returned to the employees who executed them.
February 23, 1996
HAROLD H. GREENE
United States District Judge