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PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (01/27/88)

decided: January 27, 1988.

THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY, BUREAU OF LABOR STANDARDS, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Orders of the Department of Labor and Industry, Bureau of Labor Standards in the cases of Nancy J. Treat v. The Pennsylvania State University, No. 1-84; William Kienzle, Jr. v. The Pennsylvania State University, No. 2-84; and In Re: Dr. Steven Stack v. The Pennsylvania State University, No. 4-84, dated June 26, 1986.

COUNSEL

Wendell V. Courtney, McQuaide, Blasko, Schwartz, Fleming & Faulkner, Inc., for petitioner.

Richard C. Lengler, Assistant Counsel, with him, Peter C. Layman, Chief Counsel, for respondent.

John D. Killian, with him, Ronda K. Kiser, Killian & Gephart, for intervenor, Nancy J. Treat.

Mary Jane Forbes, with her, Robert A. Mills, McNees, Wallace & Nurick, for amicus curiae, Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Universities.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Barry, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by Judge Palladino. President Judge Crumlish and Judge Doyle dissent.

Author: Palladino

[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 121]

Pennsylvania State University (Petitioner) appeals an order of the Department of Labor and Industry, Bureau of Labor Standards (Bureau) requiring Petitioner to allow Nancy J. Treat, William J. Kienzle, Jr., and Steven Stack (Respondents) to examine certain tenure reports.

Respondents were employed as non-tenured professors by Petitioner.*fn1 According to Petitioner's regulations and procedures, members of its faculty were eligible for tenure after seven years of employment. During the first seven years of employment, each faculty member was subject to periodic review. These reviews were conducted by academic administrators, including Department Heads, Deans, the Executive Vice President, and the President of Petitioner. In addition, other tenured faculty members, serving on peer review committees, submitted written reports on the candidates for tenure. Faculty members serving on the peer review committees did so voluntarily and not as a condition of employment

[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 122]

    and were advised that the committee proceedings would be confidential.

Respondents were denied tenure and thereafter sought permission from Petitioner to examine the reports prepared in connection with their tenure reviews, including those prepared by the peer review committees.*fn2 Petitioner denied them access to all tenure reports. Respondents then filed a petition with the Bureau requesting the Bureau to invoke its enforcement powers under Section 1324 of the Personnel Files Act*fn3 (Act) and to order Petitioner to allow Respondents access to the tenure reports.

Hearings were held on April 11, 1984. The Hearing Examiner determined that the peer review committee reports constituted "performance evaluations" subject to inspection under the Act and that Petitioner was required to permit Respondents to examine all of the tenure reports. In its Final Decisions and Orders of June 26, 1986 and July 16, 1986, the ...


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