NTEU Disappointed with Court’s Decision; Immediately Appeals

Press Release September 20, 2017

Washington, D.C.—The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) is disappointed by the federal district court’s decision yesterday to dismiss its lawsuit concerning the sweeping data breaches that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) revealed in June 2015.

“We immediately appealed the district court’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “We will make our case there that NTEU members were harmed by the breaches and that OPM’s indifference to securing its databases in the years leading up to the breaches violated NTEU members’ constitutional right to informational privacy.”

NTEU’s lawsuit alleged that OPM violated NTEU members’ constitutional right to informational privacy. OPM recklessly disregarded nearly a decade of warnings from its own Inspector General about serious security vulnerabilities in its information systems. Those vulnerabilities paved the way for the theft of tens of thousands of NTEU members’ personal information from OPM’s databases. 

“NTEU strongly disagrees with the district judge’s ruling that our members were not sufficiently harmed by the OPM data breaches to show legal standing to bring the case to court,” Reardon said.

The union’s members provided OPM with deeply personal information as a condition of their employment, and they did so on an explicit promise of confidentiality. OPM flagrantly disregarded its promise by failing to secure that personal information, leading to the data breaches that occurred. When their personal information was stolen from OPM’s poorly secured databases, NTEU members were injured, giving rise to their legal standing to sue.

NTEU also disagrees with the district judge’s unduly narrow views on the scope of the constitutional right to informational privacy. 

NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 31 federal agencies and departments.