[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 202 (Friday, October 17, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 61882-61885]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-24741]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Office of the Secretary

[Docket No. DHS-2008-0012]


Privacy Act of 1974; Department of Homeland Security Grievances, 
Appeals, and Disciplinary Action Records System of Records

AGENCY: Privacy Office; DHS.

ACTION: Notice of Privacy Act system of records.

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SUMMARY: In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974 and as part of the 
Department of Homeland Security's ongoing effort to review and update 
legacy system of record notices, the Department of Homeland Security 
proposes to consolidate four legacy record systems: Treasury/CS.077 
Disciplinary Action Grievance and Appeal Case Files, October 18, 2001, 
Treasury/CS.159 Notification of Personnel Management Division When an 
Employee is Placed Under Investigation by the Office of Internal 
Affairs, October 18, 2001, FEMA/NETC-3 Records of Alleged Misconduct of 
Students Attending Training Courses at the National Emergency Training 
Center, September 7, 1990, and FEMA/PER-1 Grievance Records, September 
7, 1990, into one Department of Homeland Security-wide system of 
records. The Department of Homeland Security also proposes to partially 
consolidate Treasury/USSS.002 Chief Counsel Record System, August 28, 
2001, into this system. This system will allow the Department of 
Homeland Security to document all current and former Department of 
Homeland Security personnel who have been the subject of proposed or 
final disciplinary action, have filed a grievance or appeal, or have 
been suspected of misconduct. Categories of individuals, categories of 
records, and the routine uses of these legacy systems of records 
notices have been consolidated and updated to better reflect the 
Department's grievances, appeals, and disciplinary action record 
systems. DHS is issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) 
concurrent with this SORN elsewhere in the Federal Register. The 
exemptions for the legacy system of records notices will continue to be 
applicable until the final rule for this SORN has been completed. This 
consolidated system, titled Grievances, Appeals, and Disciplinary 
Action, will be included in the Department's inventory of record 
systems.

[[Page 61883]]


DATES: Submit comments on or before November 17, 2008. This new system 
will be effective November 17, 2008.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by docket number DHS-
2008-0012 by one of the following methods:
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: 1-866-466-5370.
     Mail: Hugo Teufel III, Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy 
Office, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.
     Instructions: All submissions received must include the 
agency name and docket number for this rulemaking. All comments 
received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, 
including any personal information provided.
     Docket: For access to the docket to read background 
documents or comments received go to http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general questions and privacy 
issues please contact: Hugo Teufel III (703-235-0780), Chief Privacy 
Officer, Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, 
DC 20528.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    Pursuant to the savings clause in the Homeland Security Act of 
2002, Public Law 107-296, Section 1512, 116 Stat. 2310 (November 25, 
2002), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its components and 
offices have relied on preexisting Privacy Act systems of records 
notices for the collection and maintenance of records concerning files 
relating to employee grievances, appeals, and disciplinary action.
    As part of its efforts to streamline and consolidate its Privacy 
Act record systems, DHS is establishing a new agency-wide system of 
records under the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a) for DHS grievances, 
appeals, and disciplinary actions. This will ensure that all components 
of DHS follow the same privacy rules for collecting and maintaining 
grievances, appeals, and disciplinary action records. DHS will use this 
system to collect and maintain records submitted to it by DHS personnel 
and others.
    In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974 and as part of DHS's 
ongoing effort to review and update legacy system of record notices, 
DHS proposes to consolidate four legacy record systems: Treasury/CS.077 
Disciplinary Action Grievance and Appeal Case Files (66 FR 52984 
October 18, 2001), Treasury/CS.159 Notification of Personnel Management 
Division When an Employee is Placed Under Investigation by the Office 
of Internal Affairs (66 FR 52984 October 18, 2001), FEMA/NETC-3 Records 
of Alleged Misconduct of Students Attending Training Courses at the 
National Emergency Training Center (55 FR 37182 September 7, 1990) and 
FEMA/PER-1 Grievance Records (55 FR 37182 September 7, 1990) into one 
DHS-wide system of records. DHS also proposes to partially consolidate 
Treasury/USSS.002 Chief Counsel Record System (66 FR 45362 August 28, 
2001) into this system. This system will allow DHS to document all 
current and former DHS personnel who have been the subject of proposed 
or final disciplinary action, have filed a grievance or appeal, or have 
been suspected of misconduct. Categories of individuals, categories of 
records, and the routine uses of these legacy system of records notices 
have been consolidated and updated to better reflect the Department's 
grievances, appeals, and disciplinary action record systems. DHS is 
issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) concurrent with this 
SORN elsewhere in the Federal Register. The exemptions for the legacy 
system of records notices will continue to be applicable until the 
final rule for this SORN has been completed. This consolidated system, 
titled Grievances, Appeals, and Disciplinary Action, will be included 
in the Department's inventory of record systems.

II. Privacy Act

    The Privacy Act embodies fair information principles in a statutory 
framework governing the means by which the United States Government 
collects, maintains, uses, and disseminates individuals' records. The 
Privacy Act applies to information that is maintained in a ``system of 
records.'' A ``system of records'' is a group of any records under the 
control of an agency for which information is retrieved by the name of 
an individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other 
identifying particular assigned to the individual. In the Privacy Act, 
an individual is defined to encompass United States citizens and legal 
permanent residents. As a matter of policy, DHS extends administrative 
Privacy Act protections to all individuals where systems of records 
maintain information on U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and 
visitors. Individuals may request access to their own records that are 
maintained in a system of records in the possession or under the 
control of DHS by complying with DHS Privacy Act regulations, 6 CFR 
Part 5.
    The Privacy Act requires that each agency publish in the Federal 
Register a description denoting the type and character of each system 
of records in order to make agency recordkeeping practices transparent, 
to notify individuals about the use of their records, and to assist the 
individual to more easily find files within the agency. Below is a 
description of the Grievances, Appeal, and Disciplinary Action System 
of Records.
    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(r), DHS has provided a report of 
this revised system of records to the Office of Management and Budget 
and to the Congress.
System of Records:
    DHS/ALL-018.

System name:
    Department of Homeland Security Grievances, Appeals, and 
Disciplinary Action Records.

Security classification:
    Unclassified.

System location:
    Records are maintained at several Headquarters locations and in 
component offices of DHS, in both Washington, DC and field locations.

Categories of individuals covered by the system:
    All current and former DHS personnel about whom disciplinary action 
has been proposed or has occurred, personnel who have filed grievances 
and/or appeals, and personnel suspected of misconduct.

Categories of records in the system:
    Categories of records in this system include:
     Individual's name;
     Social security number;
     Addresses;
     Restriction letters;
     Reprimands;
     Suspensions;
     Adverse actions;
     Grievances;
     Appeals;
     Correspondence;
     Management requests for assistance;
     Evidentiary materials on which action is contemplated, 
proposed or taken;
     Regulatory materials;
     Reports of investigation into alleged employee misconduct; 
and
     Examiners' reports.

Authority for maintenance of the system:
    5 U.S.C. 301; the Federal Records Act, 44 U.S.C. 3101; the Homeland 
Security

[[Page 61884]]

Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296; and Executive Order 9373.

Purpose(s):
    The purpose of this system is to document all current and former 
DHS personnel who have been the subject of proposed or final 
disciplinary action, have filed a grievance or appeal, or have been 
suspected of misconduct.

Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories 
of users and the purposes of such uses:
    In addition to those disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C. 
552a(b) of the Privacy Act, all or a portion of the records or 
information contained in this system may be disclosed outside DHS as a 
routine use pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(3) as follows:
    A. To the Department of Justice (including United States Attorney 
Offices) or other Federal agency conducting litigation or in 
proceedings before any court, adjudicative or administrative body when 
it is necessary to the litigation and one of the following is a party 
to the litigation or has an interest in such litigation:
    1. DHS or any component thereof;
    2. Any employee of DHS in his/her official capacity;
    3. Any employee of DHS in his/her individual capacity where the 
Department of Justice or DHS has agreed to represent the employee; or
    4. The United States or any agency thereof, is a party to the 
litigation or has an interest in such litigation, and DHS determines 
that the records are both relevant and necessary to the litigation and 
the use of such records is compatible with the purpose for which DHS 
collected the records.
    B. To an agency, organization, or individual for the purpose of 
performing audit or oversight operations as authorized by law, but only 
such information as is necessary and relevant to such audit or 
oversight function.
    C. To appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when:
    1. DHS suspects or has confirmed that the security or 
confidentiality of information in the system of records has been 
compromised;
    2. The Department has determined that as a result of the suspected 
or confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property 
interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or 
integrity of this system or other systems or programs (whether 
maintained by DHS or another agency or entity) or harm to the 
individual who relies upon the compromised information; and
    3. The disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is 
reasonably necessary to assist in connection with DHS's efforts to 
respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, 
or remedy such harm.
    D. To contractors and their agents, grantees, experts, consultants, 
and others performing or working on a contract, service, grant, 
cooperative agreement, or other assignment for DHS, when necessary to 
accomplish an agency function related to this system of records. 
Individuals provided information under this routine use are subject to 
the same Privacy Act requirements and limitations on disclosure as are 
applicable to DHS officers and employees.
    E. To an appropriate Federal, State, tribal, local, international, 
or foreign law enforcement agency or other appropriate authority 
charged with investigating or prosecuting a violation or enforcing or 
implementing a law, rule, regulation, or order, where a record, either 
on its face or in conjunction with other information, indicates a 
violation or potential violation of law, which includes criminal, 
civil, or regulatory violations and such disclosure is proper and 
consistent with the official duties of the person making the 
disclosure.
    F. To third parties during the course of a law enforcement 
investigation to the extent necessary to obtain information pertinent 
to the investigation, provided disclosure is appropriate to the proper 
performance of the official duties of the officer making the 
disclosure.
    G. To the Office of Personnel Management, the Merit Systems 
Protection Board, Federal Labor Relations Authority, or the Equal 
Employment Opportunity Commission when requested in the performance of 
their authorized duties.
    H. To any source or potential source from which information is 
requested in the course of an investigation concerning the retention of 
an employee or other personnel action (other than hiring), or the 
retention of a security clearance, contract, grant, license, or other 
benefit, to the extent necessary to identify the individual, inform the 
source of the nature and purpose of the investigation, and to identify 
the type of information requested.
    I. To an appropriate Federal, State, local, tribal, foreign, or 
international agency, if the information is relevant and necessary to a 
requesting agency's decision concerning the hiring or retention of an 
individual, or issuance of a security clearance, license, contract, 
grant, or other benefit, or if the information is relevant and 
necessary to a DHS decision concerning the hiring or retention of an 
employee, the issuance of a security clearance, the reporting of an 
investigation of an employee, the letting of a contract, or the 
issuance of a license, grant or other benefit and when disclosure is 
appropriate to the proper performance of the official duties of the 
person making the request.
    J. To the news media and the public, with the approval of the Chief 
Privacy Officer in consultation with counsel, when there exists a 
legitimate public interest in the disclosure of the information or when 
disclosure is necessary to preserve confidence in the integrity of DHS 
or is necessary to demonstrate the accountability of DHS's officers, 
employees, or individuals covered by the system, except to the extent 
it is determined that release of the specific information in the 
context of a particular case would constitute an unwarranted invasion 
of personal privacy.

Disclosure to consumer reporting agencies:
    None.

Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, 
and disposing of records in the system:
Storage:
    Records in this system are stored electronically or on paper in 
secure facilities in a locked drawer behind a locked door. The records 
are stored on magnetic disc, tape, digital media, and CD-ROM.

Retrievability:
    Data may be retrieved alphabetically by individual's name.

Safeguards:
    Records in this system are safeguarded in accordance with 
applicable rules and policies, including all applicable DHS automated 
systems security and access policies. Strict controls have been imposed 
to minimize the risk of compromising the information that is being 
stored. Access to the computer system containing the records in this 
system is limited to those individuals who have a need to know the 
information for the performance of their official duties and who have 
appropriate clearances or permissions.

Retention and disposal:
    Records are destroyed no sooner than 2 years but no later than 7 
years after a case is closed, in accordance with National Archives and 
Records Administration General Records Schedule 1, Civilian Personnel 
Records, Item 30, and General Records Schedule

[[Page 61885]]

18, Security and Protective Services, Item 11.

System Manager and address:
    For Headquarters and components of DHS, the System Manager is the 
Director of Departmental Disclosure, Department of Homeland Security, 
Washington, DC 20528. For components of DHS, the System Manager can be 
found at http://www.dhs.gov/foia under ``contacts.''

Notification procedure:
    Individuals seeking notification of and access to any record 
contained in this system of records, or seeking to contest its content, 
may submit a request in writing to the Headquarters' or component's 
FOIA Officer, whose contact information can be found at http://
www.dhs.gov/foia under ``contacts.'' If an individual believes more 
than one component maintains Privacy Act records concerning him or her 
the individual may submit the request to the Chief Privacy Officer, 
Department of Homeland Security, 245 Murray Drive, SW., Building 410, 
STOP-0550, Washington, DC 20528.
    When seeking records about yourself from this system of records or 
any other Departmental system of records your request must conform with 
the Privacy Act regulations set forth in 6 CFR Part 5. You must first 
verify your identity, meaning that you must provide your full name, 
current address and date and place of birth. You must sign your 
request, and your signature must either be notarized or submitted under 
28 U.S.C. 1746, a law that permits statements to be made under penalty 
of perjury as a substitute for notarization. While no specific form is 
required, you may obtain forms for this purpose from the Director, 
Disclosure and FOIA, http://www.dhs.gov or 1-866-431-0486. In addition 
you should provide the following:
     An explanation of why you believe the Department would 
have information on you,
     Identify which component(s) of the Department you believe 
may have the information about you,
     Specify when you believe the records would have been 
created,
     Provide any other information that will help the FOIA 
staff determine which DHS component agency may have responsive records,
     If your request is seeking records pertaining to another 
living individual, you must include a statement from that individual 
certifying his/her agreement for you to access his/her records.
    Without this bulleted information the component(s) may not be able 
to conduct an effective search, and your request may be denied due to 
lack of specificity or lack of compliance with applicable regulations.

Record access procedures:
    See ``Notification procedure'' above.

Contesting record procedures:
    See ``Notification procedure'' above.

Record Source Categories:
    Information originates within DHS and its components, supervisors, 
union representatives, and employees who submit a grievance or appeal.

Exemptions claimed for the system:
    The Secretary of Homeland Security has exempted this system from 
subsections (c)(3) and (4); (d); (e)(1), (2), (3), (5), and (8); and 
(g) of the Privacy Act pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2). In additional, 
the Secretary of Homeland Security has exempted this system from 
subsections (c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (H), (I), and (f) of the 
Privacy Act pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1), (2), (3) and (5).

    Dated: October 7, 2008.
Hugo Teufel III,
Chief Privacy Officer, Department of Homeland Security.
[FR Doc. E8-24741 Filed 10-16-08; 8:45 am]
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