5-2 Requests for Employee or Customer Information

  1. General.
    1. If requesters seek records about themselves, the records must be released subject to the following exceptions. If the records are contained in a system of records, the requester is generally entitled to access to the records under the Privacy Act. However, the records should be withheld if they are exempt from disclosure under both the Privacy Act and the FOIA (see sections 3-4.1b(7) and 4-5). Typically if there is a Privacy Act exemption there is a FOIA exemption that will apply as well. If the records are not contained in a system of records, then the requester is entitled to access the records under the FOIA. The records must be released unless a FOIA exemption applies.
    2. If the requester seeks records about another customer, employee, or other individual, privacy rules apply. If the information is contained in a system of records, it may only be released as allowed under the Privacy Act as described in section 3-5. Even if not so protected, records about individuals may be exempt from disclosure under one or more FOIA exemptions, particularly Exemption 6 (see section 4-5.6). Nonpublic or confidential information about business customers or the Postal Service should not be disclosed if exempt, such as under FOIA Exemptions 3 or 4 (see sections 4-5.3 and 4-5.4).
  2. Employee Information. The following information about employees may be disclosed. Other information may only be disclosed under the general rule above.
    1. Employment Data. The following data is considered public information: the name, job title, grade, current salary, duty station, and dates of employment of any current or former Postal Service employee.
    2. Release of Employee Records for Credit or Job References. Public information about a current or former employee may be given to prospective employers, or to credit bureaus, banks, federal credit unions, and other commercial firms from which an employee is seeking credit. For former employees, prospective employers may also be given the date and reason for an employee’s separation from the Postal Service, but the reason for separation must be limited to one of the following terms: retired, resigned, or separated. Other terms or variations of these terms (e.g., retired — disability) may not be used. If a credit firm or prospective employer requests more information, it must submit a release form signed by the individual.
    3. Employee Listings. On written request, the Postal Service provides, to the extent required by law, a listing of employees working at a particular Postal Service facility (but not their home addresses or Social Security numbers).
  3. Third Party Business Information. A custodian may only release nonpublic third party business information in accordance with these procedures.
    1. General. Under FOIA Exemption 4, any person or entity who submits business information to the Postal Service (“submitter”) is entitled to request that the information not be disclosed. The submitter may request that information be withheld: (1) when submitting the information, by designating all or part of the information as not releasable (e.g., by marking designated information as privileged or not releasable); or (2) in response to notice of a FOIA request. If information is supplied on a recurring basis, a simplified means of identifying non–releasable information may be agreed upon by the submitter and the custodian. Protective designations expire 10 years after the records were submitted unless the submitter provides a reasonable justification for a longer period. No action is needed by the custodian unless a request for the submitter’s information is received.
    2. Notification:
      1. General. Unless an exception applies, the custodian must notify a submitter within 5 days (excluding weekends and federal holidays) after a FOIA request is received for the submitter’s business information if:

      The notification must either describe the exact nature of the business information requested, or provide copies of the records or portions of records containing the business information. The custodian must notify the requester that notice and an opportunity to object are being provided to the submitter.

      1. Exceptions. Notification does not need to be made if:
    3. Submitter Objections to Disclosure. The custodian must give the submitter a reasonable time to provide a detailed written statement of any objection to disclosure. The objection must specify the grounds for withholding any of the information under any FOIA exemption. Specifically, under FOIA Exemption 4, the submitter must demonstrate why the information is a trade secret or commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential. When possible, the objection should be supported by a statement or certification by an officer or authorized representative of the submitter that the information in question is confidential, has not been disclosed to the public by the submitter, and is not routinely available to the public from other sources. The objection and any accompanying information may also be subject to disclosure under FOIA.
    4. Disclosure. If planning to disclose records over the submitter’s objection, the custodian must furnish the submitter a written notice that includes:
      1. A description of the business information to be disclosed.
      2. A statement of the reasons the submitter’s objections were not sustained.
      3. The specific date on which disclosure is to occur. The notice of intent to disclose must be provided to the submitter in a reasonable number of days before the specified disclosure date, and the requester must be notified that the notice of intent has been provided to the submitter.
    5. Nondisclosure. If the custodian determines that any part of the requested records should not be disclosed, the custodian must notify the requester in writing, and include the right to appeal the decision. See section 4-3.6. A copy of the letter of denial must also be provided to the submitter in any case in which the submitter had been notified of the request. If a requester brings a lawsuit seeking to compel disclosure of business information, the general counsel or designee must promptly notify the submitter.
  4. Customer Names and Addresses. The procedures related to the disclosure of customer names and addresses are as follows:
    1. Customer or Mailing Lists. Mailing lists or other lists of names or addresses (past or present) of Postal Service customers or other persons may not be made available to the public by any means or for any purpose.
    2. Address Location. If the location of an address is known, a Postal Service employee may disclose the location or give directions to the address.
    3. Release of Address Information:
      1. General. Information relating to boxholders, permanent and temporary change of address, and commercial mail receiving agencies may only be disclosed as permitted by the Privacy Act and routine uses for the applicable system of records. See the Appendix, additional instructions in section 5-2d(3)(b), and Exhibit 5-2a, Address Disclosure Chart.
      2. Additional Instructions. The following additional instructions must be followed relating to requests for change of address or boxholder information.
        1. General. Disclosures must be limited to the address of the specific individual about whom information is requested, not other family members or individuals whose name may appear on the change of address form. The address of an individual may be withheld to protect the individual’s personal safety. If an individual has filed for a protective order, the address may not be disclosed except pursuant to a court order and on the advice of counsel.
        2. To persons serving legal process. This includes persons empowered by law, the attorney for a party on whose behalf service is to be made, or a party who is acting pro se (the term pro se means that a party is self–represented, and is not represented by an attorney). When responding, do not provide a copy of PS Form 3575, ChangeofAddress Order, or PS Form 1093, Application for Post Office Box or Caller Service, to the requester. The USPS does not have a standard form for use when requesting address information. Requesters are encouraged to use the standard format in Exhibit 5-2b. If the requester uses the standard format on its own letterhead, the standard format must be used in its entirety, and the warning statement and certification must appear immediately before the signature block. If the request lacks any of the required information or a proper signature, the custodian must return it to the requester specifying the deficiency. Requests via facsimile from process servers are acceptable. Each request must specify all of the following information:
        3. To a federal, state, or local government agency. Address verification is provided to government agencies that provide written certification that the information is needed to perform their duties. Address verification may also extend to a government contractor if its request is submitted on the agency’s letterhead and contains a certification signed by a duly authorized agency official that the contractor requires the information to perform official agency business pursuant to the contract with the agency. The contractor’s request may also be on its own letterhead if accompanied by the agency certification. Verification means advising the agency as to whether the address provided is one at which mail for that customer is currently being delivered. It does not mean or imply knowledge on the part of the Postal Service about the actual residence of the customer or the actual receipt of mail delivered to that address. Agencies must use the standard format in Exhibit 5-2c when requesting address verification. If the request lacks any of the required information or a proper signature, the custodian must return the request to the agency specifying the deficiency in the space marked “other.” Requests via facsimile from government agencies are acceptable.
        4. For jury service. The known mailing address of any customer sought for jury service is provided without charge to a court official, such as a judge, court clerk, or jury commissioner, upon prior written request.

Exhibit 5-2a

Address Disclosure Chart

 

Type of Requester

Disclose Boxholder Information from PS Form 1093, Application for Post Office Box or Caller Service (Both Business and Personal Use)

Disclose Individual/Family Change of Address from PS Form 3575

Disclose Business Change of Address

Disclose Commercial Mail Receiving Agency Customer Information from PS Form 1583, Application for Delivery of Mail Through Agent (Both Business and Personal Use)

General public

No

No

Yes

No, except for the purpose of identifying a particular address as being that of a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency. Do not furnish copy of form.

Process server

Only if written request includes all of the information in exhibit 5–2b, including the warning and certification above the signature block. Disclose only the name or address of the boxholder applicant. Do not furnish copy of form. Do not disclose the name or address of an individual who has filed a protective court order. (See exception.*)

Only if written request includes all of the information in Exhibit 5-2b, including the warning and certification above the signature block. Do not furnish copy of form. The address of an individual who has filed a protective court order will not be disclosed.

Yes

No, except for the purpose of identifying a particular address as being that of a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency. Do not furnish copy of form.

Subpoena or court order

Only if counsel concurs

Only if counsel concurs

Yes

Only if counsel concurs

Criminal law enforcement (applies to government agencies whose function is law enforcement such as local police department, county sheriff, state police, or FBI.)

Boxholder name/address and the names of other persons listed as receiving mail on the PS Form 1093 may be disclosed if the agency request is in writing and in compliance with Postal Service certification and signature requirements. A copy of the form may be disclosed if requested by the agency. Do not disclose the name or address of an individual who has filed a protective court order.
(See exception.*)

For written requests from these agencies, follow the instructions for “government agency” below.
For oral requests from these agencies, disclosure pursuant to oral requests through the Inspection Service is permitted, if the Inspection Service has confirmed the information is needed for a criminal investigation.

Yes. Disclosure may be made pursuant to oral requests through the Inspection Service.

No, except for the purpose of identifying a particular address as being that of a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency. Do not furnish copy of the form. (See exception.*)

Government agency

Boxholder applicant name/address and the names of other persons listed as receiving mail on PS Form 1093 may be disclosed if the agency request is in writing and in compliance with Postal Service certification and signature requirements. A copy of the form may be disclosed if requested by the agency. Do not disclose the name or address of an individual who has filed a protective court order. (See exception.*)

Only if written signed request is on letterhead and it is for official purposes. See required format in exhibit 5–2c. Signatures may be preprinted, rubber stamped, or electronically prepared; letterheads may be computerized. Duplicate envelopes or self–addressed stamped envelopes are not required.

Yes

No, except for the purpose of identifying a particular address as being that of a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency. Do not furnish copy of form. (See exception.*)

* Exception: If a protective order has been filed with the postmaster on behalf of an individual or on behalf of a customer of a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency, information from PS Form 1093, Application for Post Office Box or Caller Service, or from PS Form 1583, Application for Delivery of Mail Through Agent, may not be released unless the requester has obtained an order of a court of competent jurisdiction that requires the disclosure in spite of the existence of the protective order. Seek the advice of counsel.

Exhibit 5-2b

Change of Address or Boxholder Request Format — Process Servers

 

 

Exhibit 5-2c

Address Information Request Format — Government Agencies