Skip to page content
Office of the Solicitor
Bookmark and Share

U.S. Department of Labor Freedom of Information Act Annual Report for Fiscal Year 1998

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT ANNUAL REPORT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 1998

October 1, 1997 through September 30, 1998

The Department received a total of 18,037 initial requests for records. The majority of these requests were received by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which received 11,045 requests. The Employment Standards Administration (ESA) received 4,059 requests.

  1. Basic Information Regarding Report

  1. For questions concerning this report, please contact

Miriam Mc D. Miller
Co-Counsel for Administrative Law
Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room N-2428
Washington, D.C. 20210
Telephone Number (202) 219-8188, ext. 135.

  1. The electronic address for this report is on the World Wide Web at http://www.dol.gov/dol/foia/main.htm.

  2. You may obtain a paper copy of this report by writing to Ms. Miller at the above address.

  1. How to Make a FOIA Request

The Department of Labor is organized into divisions and agencies often referred to as "components". Within the Labor Department, each component processes its own FOIA requests. Therefore, a request will receive the quickest possible response if it is addressed directly to the disclosure officer for the component that a requester believes has the records you are seeking.

  1. The following list contains the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the individual agency components and offices, in the national office. Unless otherwise specified, the mailing address for the following national office components is as follows:

U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Room SL-33
Washington, DC 20210

  1. Office of the Secretary of Labor, tel. (202) 219-7928.

  2. Office of the Solicitor of Labor, tel. (202) 219-8188, ext. 135.

  3. Office of the Administrative Law Judges, 800 K Street, N.W., Suite N-400, Washington, D.C. 20001-8002, tel. (202) 565-4364.

  4. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management, tel. (202) 219-7928..

  5. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, tel. (202) 219-6141.

  6. Office of the Inspector General, tel. (202) 219-4930

  7. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, tel. (202) 219-6197, ext. 112.

  8. Office of Public Affairs, tel. (202) 219-7316, ext. 113.

  9. Bureau of International Labor Affairs, tel. (202) 219-6434, ext. 166.

  10. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Postal Square Building, Room 4040, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20212-0001, tel. (202) 606-7628, ext. 274.

  11. Employment Standards Administration, tel. (202) 693-0296.

  12. Employment and Training Administration, tel. (202) 219-6695.

  13. Mine Safety and Health Administration, 4015 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22203, tel. (703) 235-1452.

  14. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, tel. (202) 693-1897.

  15. Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, tel. (202)219-7222, ext. 3001.

  16. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Veterans' Employment and Training, tel. (202) 219-9110.

  17. Office of the Associate Deputy Secretary for Adjudication, tel. (202) 565-7500, ext. 176.

  18. Employees' Compensation Appeals Board, tel. (202) 565-7500, ext. 176.

  19. Administrative Review Board, tel. (202) 565-7500, ext.176.

  20. Benefits Review Board, tel. (202) 565-7500, ext. 176.

The heads of the foregoing agencies shall make available for inspection and copying in accordance with the provisions of the FOIA, records in their custody or in the custody of component units within their organizations, either directly or through their authorized representative in particular offices and locations.

The addresses, and telephone numbers for the various Department's regional offices are presented below. The telephone number which is listed reaches the Department's Office of Administration and Management (OASAM) for that region. That office can provide the requester with a more specific telephone number for the respective component agency. Unless otherwise specified, the mailing address for these regional offices by region, shall be:

Region I:

U.S. Department of Labor
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
Boston, Massachusetts 02203
Telephone: (617) 565-1991

(For Wage and Hour only: Contact Region III)

Region II:

U.S. Department of Labor
201 Varick Street
New York, New York 10014
Telephone: (212) 337-2215

(For Wage and Hour only: Contact Region III)

Region III:

U.S. Department of Labor
Gateway Building
3535 Market Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
Telephone: (215) 596-6560

Region IV:

U.S. Department of Labor
Atlanta Federal Center
61 Forsyth Street, S.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Telephone: (404) 562-2018

U.S. Department of Labor
214 N. Hogan Street, Suite 1006
Jacksonville, Florida 32202
Telephone: (904) 357-4725

(OWCP Only)

Region V:

U.S. Department of Labor
Kluczynski Federal Building
230 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, Illinois 60604
Telephone: (312) 353-8373

U.S. Department of Labor
1240 East Ninth Street, Room 851
Cleveland, Ohio 44199
Telephone: (216) 522-2092

(FECA only)

Region VI:

U.S. Department of Labor
525 Griffin Square Building
Griffin & Young Streets
Dallas, Texas 75202
Telephone: (214) 767-6800

Region VII:

U.S. Department of Labor
City Center Square Building
1100 Main Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64105-2112
Telephone: (816) 426-3891

(For Wage and Hour only: Contact Region V)

U.S. Department of Labor
801 Walnut Street, Room 200
Kansas City, Missouri 64106
Telephone: (816) 374-6035

(OFCCP only)

Region VIII:

U.S. Department of Labor
1999 Broadway Street
Denver, Colorado 80202
Telephone: (303) 844-1721

(For Wage and Hour and OFCCP: Contact Region VI)

U.S. Department of Labor
1801 California Street, Suite 915
Denver, Colorado 80202
Telephone: (303) 844-1223

(OWCP only)

The mailing address for the Director of the Regional Bureau of Apprentice and Training in Region VIII is:

Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training
U.S. Custom House
721 - 19th Street, Room 465
Denver, Colorado 80202
Telephone: (303) 844-4791

Region IX:

U.S. Department of Labor
71 Stevenson Street
San Francisco, California 94105
Telephone: (415) 975-4057

Region X:

U.S. Department of Labor
1111 Third Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98101-3212
Telephone (415) 975-4057

(For Wage and Hour only: Contact Region IX)

  1. Agency response-time.

The agency's response-time ranges from five to fifty days. Naturally, complex requests take more time.

  1. Why some requests are not granted.

A FOIA request can be made for any agency record. This does not mean, however, that the Labor Department will disclose every record sought. There are statutory exemptions that authorize the withholding of information of an appropriately sensitive nature. The agency also cannot comply with a FOIA request if there are no records.

Another reason for not responding to a FOIA request is that the FOIA does not require agencies to do research for the requester, to analyze data, to answer questions, or to create records in order to respond to a request.

  1. Definitions of Terms and Acronyms Used in the Report (To be included in each report)

  1. Agency-specific acronyms or other terms

  1. None

  1. Basic terms, expressed in common terminology.

  1. FOIA/PA request - Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act request. A FOIA request is generally a request for access to records concerning a third party, an organization, or a particular topic of interest. A Privacy Act request is a request for records concerning oneself; such requests are also treated as FOIA requests. (All requests for access to records, regardless of which law is cited by the requester, are included in this report.)

  2. Initial Request - a request to a federal agency for access to records under the Freedom of Information Act.

  3. Appeal - a request to a federal agency asking that it review at a higher administrative level a full denial or partial denial of access to records under the Freedom of Information Act, or any other FOIA determination such as a matter pertaining to fees.

  4. Processed Request or Appeal - a request or appeal for which an agency has taken a final action on the request or the appeal in all respects.

  5. Multi-track processing - a system in which simple requests requiring relatively minimal review are placed in one processing track and more voluminous and complex requests are placed in one or more other tracks. Requests in each track are processed on a first-in/first-out basis. A requester who has an urgent need for records may request expedited processing (see below).

  6. Expedited processing - an agency will process a FOIA request on an expedited basis when a requester has shown an exceptional need or urgency for the records which warrants prioritization of his or her request over other requests that were made earlier.

  7. Simple request - a FOIA request that an agency using multi-tracking processing places in its fastest (non expedited) track based on the volume and/or simplicity of records requested.

  8. Complex request - a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in a slower track based on the volume and/or complexity of records requested.

  9. Grant - an agency decision to disclose all records in full in response to a FOIA request.

  10. Partial grant - an agency decision to disclose a record in part in response to a FOIA request, deleting information determined to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA's exemptions; or a decision to disclose some records in their entireties, but to withhold others in whole or in part.

  11. Denial - an agency decision not to release any part of a record or records in response to a FOIA request because all the information in the requested record is determined by the agency to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA's exemptions, or for some procedural reason (such as because no record is located in response to a FOIA request).

  12. Time limits - the time period in the Freedom of Information Act for an agency to respond to a FOIA request (ordinarily 20 working days from proper receipt of a "perfected" FOIA request).

  13. "Perfected" request - a FOIA request for records which adequately describes the records sought, which has been received by the FOIA office of the agency or agency component in possession of the records, and for which there is no remaining question about the payment of applicable fees.

  14. Exemption 3 statute - a separate federal statute prohibiting the disclosure of a certain type of information and authorizing its withholding under FOIA subsection (b)(3).

  15. Median number - the middle, not average, number. For example, of 3,7, and 14, the median number is 7.

  16. Average number - the number obtained by dividing the sum of a group of numbers by the quantity of numbers in the group. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the average is 8.

  1. Exemption 3 Statutes

  1. List of Exemption 3 statutes relied on by this agency during fiscal year 1998.

  1. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration withheld the names of complainants who reported safety and health violations under the authority of section 8(f)(l) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), 29 U.S.C. 657(f)(l). This component also withheld documents under the authority of section 15 of this statute, 29 U.S.C. 664, which prohibits the disclosure of trade secrets. It also withheld the disclosure of advance notice of a safety inspection under the authority of section 17(f) of the same statute, 29 U.S.C. 666(f). Finally, this component withheld documents pursuant to the Copyright Act of 1976 (17 U.S.C. 705).

  2. The Office of Labor-Management Standards invoked section 304(a) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA) (29 U.S.C. 464(a)) to protect the identities of complainants in Title III, LMRDA investigations. This office also withheld grand jury material pursuant to Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

  3. The Office of the Inspector General withheld grand jury material pursuant to Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

  4. The Mine Safety and Health Administration withheld the names of miners, pursuant to the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, section 103(g)(1)(30 U.S.C.813(g)(l)), who requested safety inspections. It also withheld information to protect the confidentiality of coal mine maps pursuant to section 312(b) of this statute (30 U.S.C. 872(b)). Finally, this component withheld the documents pursuant to the Privacy Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. 552a.

  5. The Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration withheld documents pursuant to section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 6103) which prohibits the release of information contained in an income tax return.

  6. The Veterans' Employment and Training Service withheld documents pursuant to Executive Order 12600 and 29 C.F.R 70.26.

The courts have determined that the Privacy Act is not an exemption 3 statute under the FOIA. The remaining statutes, cited above, have not, as yet, been litigated in the courts.

  1. Initial FOIA/PA Access Requests

  1. Number of initial requests.

  1. Number of requests pending as of the end of the preceding fiscal year which was fiscal year 1997: 497

  2. Number of requests received during fiscal year 1998: 18,037

  3. Number of requests processed during fiscal year 1998: 17,540

  4. Number of requests pending as of the end of fiscal year 1998: 994

  1. Disposition of initial requests.

  1. Number of total grants: 5,556

  2. Number of partial grants: 2,179

  3. Number of denials: 9,805

  1. number of time each FOIA exemption was used (counting each exemption once per request)

(1) Exemption 1: 1

(2) Exemption 2: 791

(3) Exemption 3: 485

(4) Exemption 4: 1,721

(5) Exemption 5: 6,041

(6) Exemption 6: 3,758

(7) Exemption 7(A): 4,940

(8) Exemption 7(B): 0

(9) Exemption 7(C): 5,991

(10) Exemption 7(D): 5,793

(11) Exemption 7(E): 603

(12) Exemption 7(F): 6

(13) Exemption 8: 0

(14) Exemption 9: 0

  1. other reasons for nondisclosure (total): 4,830

(1) no records: 2,877

(2) referrals: 870

(3) request withdrawn: 200

(4) fee-related reason: 80

(5) records not reasonably described: 185

(6) not a proper FOIA request for some other reason: 0

(7) not an agency record: 268

(8) duplicate request: 122

(9) other (specify): 228; miscellaneous reasons

  1. Appeals of Initial Denials of FOIA/PA Requests

  1. Numbers of appeals.

  1. Number of appeals received during fiscal year 1998: 297

  2. Number of appeals processed during fiscal year 1998: 458

  1. Disposition of appeals.

  1. Number completely upheld: 66

  2. Number partially reversed: 98

  3. Number completely reversed: 48

  1. number of times each FOIA exemption was used (counting each exemption once per request)

(1) Exemption 1: 0

(2) Exemption 2: 10

(3) Exemption 3: 16

(4) Exemption 4: 15

(5) Exemption 5: 61

(6) Exemption 6: 9

(7) Exemption 7(A): 18

(8) Exemption 7(B): 0

(9) Exemption 7(C): 113

(10) Exemption 7(D): 81

(11) Exemption 7(E): 12

(12) Exemption 7(F): 0

(13) Exemption 8: 0

(14) Exemption 9: 0

  1. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total): 165

  1. no records: 26

  2. referrals: 0

  3. request withdrawn: 218

  4. fee-related reason: 0

  5. records not reasonably described: 2

  6. not a proper FOIA request for some other reason: 0

  7. not an agency record: 0

  8. duplicate request: 12

  9. other (specify): 0

  1. Compliance with Time Limits/Status of Pending Requests

  1. Median processing time for requests processed during the year.

  1. Simple requests (if multiple tracks used).

  1. number of requests processed: 15,361

  2. median number of days to process: 10

  1. Complex requests (specify for any and all tracks used)

  1. number of requests processed: 1,957

  2. median number of days to process: 25

  1. Requests accorded expedited processing.

  1. number of requests processed: 222

  2. median number of days to process: 3

  1. Status of pending requests.

  1. Number of requests pending as of end of fiscal year 1998: 994

  2. Median number of days that such requests were pending as of the end of fiscal year 1998: 33

  1. Costs/FOIA Staffing

  1. Staffing levels.

  1. Number of full-time FOIA personnel: 4

  2. Number of personnel with part-time or occasional FOIA duties (in total work-years): 109

  3. Total number of personnel (in work-years): 113

  1. Total costs (including staff and all resources).

  1. FOIA processing (including appeals): $4,350,000.

  2. Litigation-related activities (estimated): $500,000.

  3. Total costs: $4,850,000.

  4. Comparison with previous year (s) (including percentage of change) (optional): This year we expended an additional 11% for FOIA.

  1. Fees

  1. Total amount of fees collected by agency for processing requests: $187,537.32

  2. Percentage of total costs: 4%.

  1. FOIA Regulations (Including Fee Schedule)

The electronic address for accessing the Department's FOIA regulations, 29 C.F.R. Part 70, is on the Department's web site at http://www.dol.gov. In addition, they can be accessed on the World Wide Web at GPO Access, a service of the U.S. Government Printing Office, at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html. Attached here to is a copy of the regulations in paper form.

___signed_______
Alexis M. Herman
Secretary of Labor

Attachment