5-2 Requests for Employee or Customer Information

  1. General.
    1. If requesters seek records about themselves, see 4-3.2 for Privacy Act protected records, as well as 4-4.4 under the FOIA. If a third party requests information about another Postal Service employee or customer at that employee or customer’s request or authorization, see 4-3.3.3.e (for Privacy Act records) and 4-4.4 (FOIA). If the requester seeks records about another customer, employee, or other individual and not at that individual’s request or consent, then additional privacy rules apply. Subsection 5-2.b. contains some categories of employee and customer information that may be disclosed to third parties in special circumstances. Otherwise, if the information is a Privacy Act record maintained in a system of records (see 4-3.2.2), it may only be released as allowed under the Privacy Act (see 4-3.3). Furthermore, while many Privacy Act systems (see Appendix) allow for disclosure of customer or employee information when required by the FOIA (see 4-4), keep in mind that a FOIA exemption, such as Exemption 6, may still protect the information (see 4-4.24). Even if the information is not subject to the Privacy Act, Exemption 6 (or another FOIA exemption) may bar its disclosure. Finally, nonpublic or confidential information about business customers or the Postal Service should not be disclosed under the FOIA if exempt, such as under the Postal Reorganization Act and/or FOIA Exemptions 3 or 4 (see 4-4.23 and 4-4.24).
  2. Employee Information Subject to Disclosure. Information other than those categories listed here may only be disclosed under the general rule above; however, you may disclose the following employee information:
    1. Employment Data. With the exception of law enforcement personnel, 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. Salary history may not be provided given potential links to performance information and resulting privacy interests.
    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:
    3. 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 (see 4-3.3.3.e for identity verification forms that may be used).

    4. 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, employee identification numbers, or Social Security numbers).
    5. Verification of Employment or Income. Employees or verifiers may verify employment or income of current Postal Service employees by calling The Work Number at 800-367-5690 or by visiting www.theworknumber.com. The requester must use Employer code 12946. The employee will need to set up a salary key if wages need to be verified. The key can only be used once and is good for 30 days only.
  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:
    2. 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.

    3. 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:
      2. 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.

      3. Exceptions. Notification does not need to be made if:
        1. The custodian determines that the information will not be disclosed.
        2. The information lawfully has been published or has been officially made available to the public by the submitter.
        3. Disclosure of the information is required by law (other than the FOIA).
        4. Disclosure of the particular kind of information is required by a Postal Service regulation. In such cases, the custodian must provide advance written notification to the submitter if the submitter had designated the information as protected.
    4. Submitter Objections to Disclosure. The custodian must give the submitter a reasonable time (e.g., 10 working days) 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:
    5. The objection and any accompanying information may also be subject to disclosure under FOIA.

    6. 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.
    7. 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 4-4.26 and 4-4.28. 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 (see also 39 CFR 265.14):
    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 except that in response to a proper FOIA request, the Postal Service may, to the extent required by law, provide a listing of Postal Service employees working at a particular postal facility. See 39 CFR 265.14(e). Regarding Privacy Act requests, the Postal Service may release a list of names and addresses of individuals pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, each individual whose name and address is contained in such list, provided that such names and addresses are derived from records maintained by the Postal Service in a system of records as defined by the Privacy Act. See 39 CFR 266.3(b)(3)(iv). (See 39 CFR 266.3(b)(3) for other exceptions not related to the FOIA or the Privacy Act, including when required by the terms of a legally enforceable contract or interagency agreement and subject to a valid non-disclosure agreement.)
    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 for Specific Customers. Upon request, the names and addresses of specifically identified Postal Service customers will be made available only as follows:
      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 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 part 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, Change of Address Order, or PS Form 1093, Application for Post Office Box 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. A certification that the name or address is needed and will be used solely for service of legal process in connection with actual or prospective litigation.
        4. A citation to the statute or regulation that empowers the requester to serve process, if the requester is anyone other than a party acting pro se or the attorney for a party for whom service will be made.
        5. The names of all known parties to the litigation.
        6. The court in which the case has been or will be commenced.
        7. The docket or other identifying number, if one has been issued.
        8. The capacity in which the individual is to be served (e.g., defendant or witness).
        9. 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.
        10. 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 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 a copy of the 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 a copy of the 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 a copy of the 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.” 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 a 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

Exhibit 5-2c