DOL Seal

U.S. Department of Labor

2024 Chief FOIA Officer Report
Solicitor of Labor/DOL Chief FOIA Officer

(March 13, 2023 through March 11, 2024)


Within the Department of Labor (DOL), day-to-day FOIA operation is decentralized.  As a result, each of the 23 agency components has been given flexibility to design a program that meets its needs.  Most agencies have delegated their disclosure responsibilities to officials at the Office Director or Division Chief level in Washington, as well as to their regional offices or branches.  Others have delegated their field FOIA responsibilities to district or area offices.  Conversely, some small agencies handle all of their FOIA requests centrally in Washington, DC.  The differing agency practices are explained partly by the number of requests that agencies receive and partly by the nature of the programs they administer. 

The Office of the Solicitor (SOL) serves as the focal point for FOIA activities within the Department.  SOL houses the Department's Chief FOIA Officer and FOIA Public Liaison.  In addition, the SOL Management and Administrative Legal Services Division (MALS) houses the Office of Information Services (OIS), Counsel for FOIA, FACA and Privacy Act, as well as the Counsel for FOIA Appeals.  These programmatic and counsel areas are responsible for providing department-wide guidance regarding FOIA compliance, making administrative appeal determinations, defending FOIA litigation, as well as for monitoring FOIA performance measurement for timely responses, backlog reduction initiatives and reporting requirements, including the statutorily mandated FOIA Annual Report.

Although FOIA operations are decentralized, OIS functions as the Department's central FOIA office and has agency-wide responsibility for managing the overarching FOIA program.  During Fiscal Year 2023, DOL received 14,282 FOIA requests and processed 14,219 requests.  Most of these requests were received by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA – 55%), followed by the Office of Workers Compensation Programs (OWCP – 11%), the Wage and Hour Division (WHD – 9%), Employment Training Administration (ETA – 6%), and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA – 5%).  The remaining 14 percent of the requests were processed by the Department's other 18 agency components.


The guiding principle underlying the Attorney General's FOIA Guidelines is the presumption of openness. The Guidelines also highlight the importance of agency leadership in ensuring effective FOIA administration. Please answer the following questions about FOIA leadership at your agency and describe the steps your agency has taken to ensure that the presumption of openness is being applied to all decisions involving the FOIA.

A. Leadership Support for FOIA

1. The FOIA requires each agency to designate a Chief FOIA Officer who is a senior official at least at the Assistant Secretary or equivalent level. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(j)(1) (2018). Is your agency's Chief FOIA Officer at or above this level? Yes

2. Please provide the name and title of your agency's Chief FOIA Officer.  The Chief FOIA Officer is Seema Nanda, Solicitor of Labor.

3. What steps has your agency taken to incorporate FOIA into its core mission? For example, has your agency incorporated FOIA milestones into its strategic plan?

FOIA related performance measures and milestones are incorporated at the Departmental level within the DOL Strategic Plan and are regularly captured, tracked, and reported at the highest level to DOL agency component leadership.  Performance measures and milestones are tracked and reported on a quarterly basis as part of both the Department's Financial and Administrative Score Card as well as the SOL Agency Management Plan to promote visibility to the Chief FOIA Officer.

B. Presumption of Openness

4. The Attorney General's 2022 FOIA Guidelines provides that "agencies should confirm in response letters to FOIA requesters that they have considered the foreseeable harm standard when reviewing records and applying FOIA exemptions." Does your agency provide such confirmation in its response letters?

All DOL agency components have been briefed on the foreseeable harm standard and report that they use the standard in all instances where the test is required. Further, all DOL's designated FOIA Coordinators and contacts have received specific training on the foreseeable harm standard as contemplated in the Attorney General's 2022 FOIA Guidelines as it relates to adding language regarding the applicability of the foreseeable harm standard in making disclosures. While guidance as to the suggested standard language has been discussed with DOL's free standing agency components, it has been left to their discretion whether or not the language is included in interim or final response letters. At the time of this reporting, OSHA (which processes the majority of DOL's requests) and MSHA report that they provide applicable exemption language in all response letters to those requesters who receive responsive records with applied redactions. Specifically, OSHA created a model response letter incorporating language regarding foreseeable harm and has distributed across the component.  Likewise, MSHA consistently considers foreseeable harm and has provided the applicable exemption language in all response letters to those requesters that receive responsive records with applied redactions.

As part of OIS's planned Administrative Agency Reviews (self-assessments), OIS plans to ask component agencies about their practices as it relates to implementing the foreseeable harm standard in their review process as well as in communications with requesters. Based on these interactions, DOL should have a more detailed substantive update on how widely the Attorney General's is guidance is being implemented across the Department in future reporting.

5. In some circumstances, agencies may respond to a requester that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of requested records if acknowledging the existence of records would harm an interested protected by a FOIA exemption. This is commonly referred to as a Glomar response. If your agency tracks Glomar responses, please provide: N/A

  • The number of times your agency issued a full or partial Glomar response (separate full and partial if possible);
  • The number of times a Glomar response was issued by exemption, (eg., Exemption (7)C – 20 times, Exemption (1) – 5 times).

6. If your agency does not track the use of Glomar responses, are you planning on tracking this information in the future?

DOL only tracks and includes in its annual and quarterly reporting the data required by the DOJ FOIA schema at  That schema does not call for reporting of Glomar responses.  As such, DOL has never tracked or reported on the use of "Glomar" to withhold records in full or in part and has no plans to do so.  To capture accurate data regarding the use of Glomar responses, DOL would have to incur the cost of modifying its FOIA tracking system and train staff on new procedures.

7. Optional – If there are any other initiatives undertaken by your agency to ensure that the presumption of openness is being applied, please describe them here.

The Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) reports that its intra and internet websites are updated regularly with relevant reporting and an invitation to submit comments and questions. In 2020, DOL-OCFO began publishing and regularly updating its FOIA Logs on quarterly.

MSHA creates a culture of transparency, fosters public trust, and aligns its practices with the principles of the presumption of openness. For example: 1) Provided training to agency staff involved in processing FOIA requests, emphasizing the importance of the presumption of openness and providing guidance on its application; 2) Conducted periodic reviews of the agency's practices to ensure compliance with the presumption of openness and identify areas for improvement; 3) Prioritized timely responses to FOIA requests, adhering to statutory deadlines and avoiding unnecessary delays;4) Instead of full denials, considered redacting sensitive information from documents to release as much information as possible; and, 5) Conducted regular training for agency employees to reinforce the importance of the presumption of openness in government operations. In addition to the specific tasks reference above, FOIA Coordinators consult with subject matter experts, MSHA's FOIA Officer and the Solicitor's Division to discuss responsive documents and obtain guidance to ensure the presumption of openness is applied consistently and regularly. In instances where documents are discovered that did not originate in a MSHA specific program area, those documents are sent to the proper office for consultation and a determination as to what information can and cannot be released. Throughout the consultation process, presumption of openness is emphasized.


The Attorney General's FOIA Guidelines provide that "[e]nsuring fair and effective FOIA administration requires . . . proper training, and a full understanding of FOIA obligations by the entire agency workforce." The Guidelines reinforce longstanding guidance to "work with FOIA requesters in a spirit of cooperation." The Attorney General also "urge[s] agency Chief FOIA Officers to undertake comprehensive review of all aspects of their agency's FOIA administration" as part of ensuring fair and effective FOIA administration.

A. FOIA Training

1. The FOIA directs agency Chief FOIA Officers to ensure that FOIA training is offered to agency personnel. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(j)(2)(F). Please describe the efforts your agency has undertaken to ensure proper FOIA training is made available and used by agency personnel. Yes.  Wee response to question 2 below.

2. Did your FOIA professionals or the personnel at your agency who have FOIA responsibilities attend substantive FOIA training during the reporting period such as that provided by the Department of Justice? Yes

3. If yes, please provide a brief description of the type of training attended or conducted and the topics covered.

DOL has provided significant training through varied event and programs to ensure FOIA program staff received substantive training during the program period, including a multi-day training conference, a multi-day training on the Department's FOIA system, on-demand trainings in the Department's portal and regular briefings for FOIA staff:

2023 Virtual FOIA Training Conference

On June 6 and 7, 2023, OIS hosted a FOIA Training Conference.  The lecture styled training was hosted in person and simultaneously broadcasted via WEBEX to over 500 employees from each DOL agency component.  The two-day event took place from 12:45pm (EST) to 5:00pm (EST) each day.

The training was designed is to train Department of Labor FOIA professionals and others with FOIA related responsibilities,  on a variety of topics, including a FOIA Administrative Processing Overview; FOIA Exemptions Overview; Privacy Act and SORNS; FOIA Exemption 5; FOIA and Records Management Interface; Administrative Appeals and Litigation Considerations; Fees and Fee Waivers; FOIA Exemption 4; Overview of the FOIAXpress Case Management System; Exemption 7(D) and Investigative Files; FOIA Best Practices and Process Management; Third Party Subpoenas; and an Open Forum Question and Answer Session

2023 FOIAXpress Training

On October 17 and 18, 2023, the Department hosted a two-day session aimed at teaching users about managing the lifecycle of a FOIA request, from inception to resolution, using the Department's FOIA tracking system, FOIAXpress.  On October 19, 2023, the agency held a FOIAXpress training regarding the use of the systems "Electronic Document Review" (EDR) functionality, which helps batch, group and deduplicate emails and other electronic records for the purposes of processing them for disclosure. 

DOL LearningLink Courses  

The Department also provides FOIA training for managers and FOIA Service Center staff via its LearningLink, DOL's e-Training solution which provides employees access to a one-stop portal of training programs and services. The Department requires that all new and current employees with FOIA responsibilities utilize the Learning Link On-line Module for FOIA training.  FOIA professionals may choose one or two FOIA e-learning training courses; "FOIA e-Learning Professionals Training" and "FOIA e-Learning Employees Training."  The first module is an in-depth course specifically designed for FOIA professionals, addressing all of the major procedural and substantive requirements of FOIA.  The second course is a brief module designed for all employees that provide limited FOIA support and highlights ways in which employees can assist their agencies in the administration of the FOIA statute. Both courses were created by the Department of Justice.

Training Videos on the DOL FOIA LaborNet Page

The Office of Information Services (OIS) has made available to DOL employees via its internal LaborNet page, a series of videos that contain segments of sessions that were pre-recorded from prior DOL FOIA training conferences.  In 2023, a recording of the entire Virtual FOIA Training Conference was added for viewing.  OIS added a video library that contained FOIAXpress training modules.  The FOIAXpress segments continue to service as an excellent reference source for both new FOIA staff and other professionals who require a refresher regarding the Department's FOIA case management system. 

In November 2023, OIS posted segments from the FOIAXpress refresher trainings that were conducted the prior month.  It has also made a concerted effort to encourage FOIA staff to take part in other training opportunities such as those that are provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as other organizations that offer comprehensive FOIA instruction.

Quarterly FOIA Briefings

DOL through the Office of Information Services, holds quarterly FOIA Coordinator briefings in which all FOIA contacts Department-wide are encouraged to attend.  The primary purpose of the sessions is to share best practices and offer administrative and procedural guidance to staff.  During FY 2023, FOIA Coordinators were also briefed on FOIAXpress functionality through scheduled demonstrations and question and answer sessions. Other topics of interest included FOIA reporting, backlog reduction plans and FOIA administrative process guidance.

4. Please provide an estimate of the percentage of your FOIA professionals and staff with FOIA responsibilities who attended substantive FOIA training during this reporting period.


5. OIP has directed agencies to "take steps to ensure that all of their FOIA professionals attend substantive FOIA training at least once throughout the year." If your response to the previous question is that less than 80% of your FOIA professionals attended training, please explain your agency's plan to ensure that all FOIA professionals receive or attend substantive FOIA training during the next reporting year.  N/A

6. Describe any efforts your agency has undertaken to inform non-FOIA professionals of their obligations under the FOIA. In particular, please describe how often and in what formats your agency provides FOIA training or briefings to non-FOIA staff; and if senior leaders at your agency received a briefing on your agency's FOIA resources, obligations and expectations during the FOIA process?

In addition to the DOL-wide training described above, DOL component agencies have provided the following targeted learning opportunities which are described below:

The Employment Training Administration (ETA) FOIA Coordinator provides a weekly briefing to supervisors on the scope and volume of incoming FOIA requests for awareness and to promote the effective allocation of staff resources.

FOIA training for all staff has been incorporated into OFCCP's FY2024 Agency Management Plan (AMP) and will be conducted this year.  OFCCP also conducted an annual records management training in FY 2023 that describes what FOIA is and how it interfaces with statutory mandates for records management.

The Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) provides orientation for new judges and new law clerks.  During that orientation, a session is given about the relationship between FOIA and administrative hearings, and what judges and law clerks should do when receiving a FOIA-related issue or assignment.  OALJ's intranet contains information accessible to all OALJ staff regarding FOIA responsibilities and procedures, DOL FOIA Guidance and resources, FOIA Memoranda and Manuals, DOJ FOIA Guide and DOL FOIA Training conference materials in addition to links to other FOIA resources.  Senior leaders are apprised of agency FOIA resources, obligations, and expectations.

The (Office of the Inspector General) OIG conducted small group meetings using PowerPoint presentations that included an overview of the FOIA and OIG employees' responsibilities. One training was administered by the FOIA Officer and the Supervisory Attorney to the Office of Legal Services, another was provided to the Office of Audit.  Senior leaders have positively responded to the Disclosure Office's need for support with added technology.

Agency Component

FOIA Training

Percentage Trained

Adj Bds

The FOIA Coordinator for the Adjudicatory Boards FOIA coordinator attended training sessions and quarterly meetings conducted by SOL and DOJ throughout the year. The FOIA coordinator attended the following training sessions and meetings:

  • December 7, 2022 – 1st quarter FOIA meeting
  • March 23, 2023 - 2nd quarter FOIA meeting
  • June 21, 2023 - 3rd quarter FOIA meeting
  • September 21, 2023 4th quarter FOIA meeting
  • June 6, 2023 – 2023, Virtual FOIA conference with DOL-SOL
  • Virtual Introduction to the Freedom of Information Act April 4, 2023, DOJ-OIP
  • Virtual Litigation Workshop May 10, 2023 DOJ- OIP
  • The FOIA coordinator completed three trainings on FOIA in LearningLink for FOIA Professionals, the self-paced FOIA training on FOIAXpress as well as training hosted by DOJ OIP, Department of Justice, Office of Information Policy.
  • The FOIA Coordinator provides training on FOIA to new and incoming staff members who want to learn the FOIA process.
BLSBLS FOIA staff have attended the DOL internal FOIA related training opportunities as well as FOIA training hosted by DOL OIP and the American Society for Access Professionals (ASAP)  100%

EBSA National Office have presented and participated in different types of FOIA training. The EBSA Lead FOIA Coordinator and the Enforcement Office's FOIA Coordinator provided detailed training sessions to FOIA personnel on FOIA Workshop for EBSA - FOIA Exemption 4 and FOIA and Privacy Act Training for Agency Benefits Advisors that focused on the FOIA Basics. These trainings emphasized recognizing records, information requests, the difference between FOIA and Privacy Act requests, System of Records Notices, and what protections they provide.  It also addressed how to handle a request for a TAIS file (SORN/PA protected file) or form 5500 data, and how to instruct the public to submit FOIA requests, and who can make records disclosures.

EBSA staff nationwide attended the "2023 DOL Virtual FOIA Training Conference" presented by the DOL/SOL, which focused on Effectively Implementing the FOIA Through Openness, Transparency, and Process Improvement. Numerous EBSA coordinators were unable to participate in the live session and, therefore, turned to watching the recording. Despite that, EBSA had 17 attendees for "FOIAXpress Request Processing," and 27 attended the segment on FOIAXpress document management.  

EBSA FOIA Coordinators also participated in the Department of Justice training on various topics, including an overview of the FOIA's procedural requirements, an overview of FOIA exemptions, basic principles for processing FOIA requests from start to finish, communicating with requesters, searching for and reviewing documents, and preparing final determinations and responses. In addition, EBSA Lead FOIA Coordinator has been producing and releasing fliers entitled, "EBSA FOIA Hint – Did You Know" that covers areas of Multitrack Processing, Perfected Request, Exemption 4, E.O 12,600, and Public Interest, Time limits, Letters and language needed (OGIS, EBSA POC, SOL LAISION, APPEALS), Legal Determinations, Reverse FOIA, Exemption 5 and proactive disclosure, and Quarterly score cards.


ETA personnel attended the following FOIA trainings during the reporting period:

  • FOIA Xpress Electronic Document Review (DOL): On October 19, 2023, DOL's Office of Information Services (OIS) held a training on the usage of the Electronic Document Review function in FOIA Xpress.
  • FOIA Xpress Training (DOL): On October 17-18, 2023, OIS held a virtual training on request processing and document management in FOIA Xpress.
  • 2023 Department of Labor Virtual FOIA Conference (DOL): On June 6-7, 2023, OIS held a two-day virtual conference where ETA personnel received training on FOIA processing, Exemptions, the Privacy Act and System of Record Notices.
  • Virtual Introduction to the Freedom of Information Act (DOJ): On April 4, 2023, DOJ held a virtual training on the FOIA.
  • Virtual Processing a Request from Start to Finish (DOJ): On April 12, 2023, DOJ held a training focused on the processing a FOIA request from receipt to disposition.

The ILAB FOIA coordinator attended training sessions and quarterly meetings conducted by SOL and DOJ throughout the year. The FOIA coordinator attended the following training sessions and meetings:

  • March 2023 - 2nd quarter DOL FOIA meeting;
  • June 2023 - 3rd quarter FOIA DOL meeting;
  • September 21, 2023 - 4th quarter DOL FOIA meeting; and
  • June 6, 2023 - Virtual FOIA conference with DOL and DOJ

ILAB's back-up FOIA coordinator completed a three-day FOIA course through Management Concepts and is also taking training on FOIA at the Department of Justice, Office of Information Policy.


MSHA's FOIA Officer informs MSHA management and all FOIA coordinators of DOL and DOJ FOIA training sessions which are available throughout the year. These training sessions include virtual live sessions and pre-recorded sessions that are available at any time. New FOIA coordinators are provided with two e-learning training sessions that must be completed before they can begin processing FOIA requests. The headquarters program offices work closely with their district FOIA coordinators to ensure they are appropriately trained and knowledgeable of the FOIA requirements and procedures.

MSHA FOIA staff participated in DOL Quarterly FOIA coordinator virtual meetings, and DOL's 2023 FOIA conference covering all FOIA topics. including receiving and acknowledging requests, handling sensitive information, and providing good customer service.  Individual program offices conducted virtual meetings within their group to reinforce topics that had been covered in larger settings, including, on-the-job training for new FOIA coordinators. These discussions provided information on the FOIA processes, best practices, and FOIAXpress training.

In addition, the following trainings were taken by MSHA FOIA staff:

1.) FOIA Training for Professionals: In depth course that provides detailed overview of the FOIA and addresses all of the major procedural and substantiative requirements of the law, including receiving and acknowledging requests, handling sensitive information, and providing good customer service.

2.) FOIA Training for Federal Employees: General course that provides an overview of the FOIA and explains how employees can assist the agency in the administration of the FOIA.

3.) FOIA Training for Executives: Basic course that provides a quick overview of the FOIA and how this law impacts agency leaders, including proactive disclosures, reporting, and accountability.

4.) OIP Virtual FOIA Litigation Workshop: Covered considerations for FOIA requests subject to litigation including discussion of acceptable Vaughn index formats, importance of a comprehensive administrative record, defending your search.

5.) DOL FOIAXpress Training: This training detailed all the functions of FOIAXpress such as assigning requests, sending out correspondence, applying redactions, fee estimates, tolling, and uploaded documents.

OALJFOIA training schedules for Department of Justice OIP FOIA training sessions are circulated to agency personnel when available.  The annual OIS FOIA training conference information is circulated to agency personnel when provided.  Information about Learning Link training courses are provided to agency personnel.  One on one virtual training sessions have been provided by the FOIA Coordinator and/or FOIA Supervisor to agency personnel when requested.  Agency Personnel provide confirmation of annual FOIA training taken to the FOIA Supervisor and/or the FOIA Coordinator.   OALJ FOIA professionals attended the 2023 Virtual OIS FOIA Conference which covered FOIA Administrative Processes, FOIA Exemptions, the Privacy Act and SORNS, FOIA and Records Management, Administrative Appeals and Litigation Considerations, Fees and Fee Waivers, FOIA Best Practices and Process Management, Third Party Subpoenas and using FOIAXpress to process FOIA requests. 100%

OASAM FOIA personnel attended the following trainings:

  • SOL's Virtual FOIA Training Conference (June 2023)
  • Webinar Training and Quarterly Meetings

OASAM FOIA Training:

  • FOIA Exemptions
  • Fee Calculations
  • Navigating FOIAXpress: Generating Reports, Adding and Delivering Documents, Closing FOIAs, Applying Redactions

Department of Justice FOIA Training:

  • Virtual Introduction to the Freedom of Information Act
  • Virtual Processing a Request from Start to Finish
  • Virtual Procedural Requirements and Fees Training
  • Virtual Litigation Workshop
  • Virtual Exemption 1 and Exemption 7 Training
  • Virtual Exemption 4 and Exemption 5 Training
  • Virtual Privacy Considerations Training
  • Virtual Continuing FOIA Education

The OASP FOIA Coordinator attends FOIA Training provided through the Department's Office of the Solicitor and the Department's LearningLink website.  Other trainings included Virtual FOIA Training provided by DOJ. 

DOL's FOIA Courses include the following:

  • Annual FOIA Training Conference provided by SOL/OIS – June 2023
  • SOL/OIS YouTube Training for FOIAXpress.

DOJ Virtual Courses include the following: 

  • Virtual Administrative Appeals, FOIA Compliance and Customer Service Training
  • Virtual Privacy Consideration Workshop
  • Virtual Exemption 1 and Exemption 7 Workshop
  • Virtual Continuing FOIA Education
  • Virtual Chief FOIA Officer Report Training
OCFOOCFO FOIA staff attended DOL FOIA briefings and other meetings and activities in relation to FOIA.100%
OCIAOffice of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs FOIA staff attend the 2023 DOL Virtual FOIA Training Conference in June 2023.  They also participated in FOIAXpress training and attended the DOL Quarterly FOIA Coordinators Meetings hosted by the Office of Information Services.  FOIA staff also engaged in Learning Link FOIA eLearning for Managers and Professionals.100%
ODEPThe Office of Disability Employment Programs FOIA staff attended the FOIAXpress training in October 2023 and end of year quarterly briefings.100%

OFCCP has developed FOIA training for all staff that is available on its intranet site. OFCCP also encourages all its FOIA personnel to take DOL internal (online) training, and to attend the online courses offered by US DOJ and NARA.

Members of the OFCCP team attended online training offered by DOJ meant to apprise FOIA practitioners about new issues with FOIA.  The training sessions included an introduction to FOIA, processing a request from start to finish, privacy considerations, and training on exemptions4, 5, and 7. Staff also attended FOIAXpress training provided by OPEXUS.


Office of the Inspector General FOIA staff attended the following trainings:

  • DOJ's Advanced FOIA Training,
  • DOJ Privacy Considerations Training,
  • DOJ Procedural Requirements Training,
  • DOJ FOIA Exemptions 5 and 7,
  • DOJ FOIA Exemption 6 and 7 training, and
  • DOL June 2023 two half day FOIA Training Conference
OLMSOffice of Labor-Management Standards FOIA staff attended the 2023 DOL Virtual FOIA Training Conference and took part in the FOIA eLearning course on Learning Link.100%
OPAOffice of Public Affairs FOIA staff has attended the 2023 DOL Virtual FOIA Training Conference that took place in June 2023.100%
OSECOffice of the Secretary FOIA staff participated in the three-day FOIAXpress training that was conducted in October 2023.90%

OSHA held multiple series of FOIA training including a virtual three (3) day and a virtual four (4) day FOIA training.  OSHA also offers Q&A calls with its FOIA team where various FOIA issues are discussed.  OOC receives multiple calls and emails from OSHA's processing offices with FOIA questions and uses the opportunity to provide training to the FOIA staff.  OSHA's FOIA training is open to all OSHA personnel.  Further, OSHA alerts and encourages participation by its FOIA personnel in Department of Justice and Department of Labor provided training opportunities.

OSHA FOIA personnel attended the 2023 DOL Virtual FOIA Training Conference that took place in June 2023.

OSHA has over 200 employees who work on FOIA at least one hour per week.  Most had FOIA training through OSHA, DOL and/or the DOJ FOIA training.

  • The DOL FOIA Training Conference in June 2023 was presented via WEBEX.

Department of Justice Training

  • FOIA Workshop – FOIA request start to finish, Overview of Exemptions, Proactive Discovery;
  • FOIA Education – Significant New Decisions, New Guidance and Resources;
  • Virtual Privacy Considerations Training – PA Interface, Exemption 6&7c; and
  • Advanced FOIA Training – Advanced Procedural Requirements, Exemption 6&7c Advanced, Proactive Disclosure.

The Office of the Solicitor – Management and Administrative Legal Services Division - Office of Information Services (OIS) hosted the 2023 DOL Virtual FOIA Training Conference in June of 2023.  All SOL FOIA contacts and DOL FOIA Coordinators were in attendance. 

SOL maintains an internal DOL website that provides various helpful FOIA resources for DOL agency components to review that includes guidance regarding FOIA best practices, an updated DOL National FOIA directory, FOIA training conference video segments, as well as prerecorded video tutorials that serve as guides regarding FOIAXpress functionality and training.

All DOL employees have the ability to access the FOIA page to view the online training modules and best practices documents; review FOIA implementing regulations and annual reports.

They can also experience online tutorials and review examples of FOIA response letters.

Office of the Solicitor FOIA professionals also attended trainings at the DOJ – OIP and attended DOL Quarterly FOIA meetings that were held by the Office of Information Services.


Virtual training, conferences, workshops, one-on-one, and computer-based learning: 

Department of Justice Training (DOJ)

Descriptions of each DOJ/OIP mentioned courses are available on the OIP website.

DOJ FOIA Exemptions Training

Intermittent DOJ Workshops

Virtual Administrative Appeals

Virtual Processing a Request from Start to Finish Workshop (April 12, 2023)

Virtual Introduction to the Freedom of Information Act Training (April 4, 2023)

DOL Training

Virtual FOIA Training Conference (June 6th and 7th, 2023)

FOIAXpress User Training

FOIA Learning Link Courses

Departmental Procedures on Coordinated and/or Consolidated FOIA requests.

2nd Quarter Coordinator's Meeting (March 23, 2023)

3rd Quarter Coordinator's Meeting (June 21, 2023)

4th Quarter Coordinator's Meeting (September 21, 2023)

VETS Training

FOIA Compliance and Customer Service Workshop (May 17, 2023)


In June 2023, WB FOIA personnel participated in a 2-day Virtual Annual Training Conference sponsored by SOL. 

Topics covered included:  FOIA Administration; Processing FOIA Exemptions; Privacy Act & SORNS; Exemptions 4, 5, and 7D; FOIA & Records Management Interface; Administrative Appeals & Litigation Considerations; FOIA Exemptions; Fees/Fee Waivers; Exemption 4; FOIAXpress System; FOIA Best Practices and Process Management; and Third-Party Subpoenas.  Department of Justice OIP FOIA Training.

WB FOIA personnel also completed the FOIA training modules made available via the DOL LearningLink. 


The Department held a 2023 Virtual FOIA Training Conference between June 6-7, 2023.  WHD FOIA personnel attended that training.

The training was also available on LaborNet for those who could not attend in person.

Additionally, LaborNet also has many resources, training guides, presentations, and reports.

WHD's FOIA Office conducted hands-on training for its FOIA personnel that focused on managing case files in FOIA Express. Included in the training were practical examples of how to upload and review documents, make redactions, and process records in FOIAXpress utilizing its automated tools and features.  The training also featured specifics on managing case files and ensuring the administrative record contained necessary information to facilitate possible appeal and litigation responses to FOIA requesters.

WHD FOIA professionals receive training in conjunction with the branch's weekly staff meetings.  These training sessions cover various aspects of FOIA processing relevant to the current workload and case files moving through the office at the time.  They are topical and cover a wide range of FOIA concepts and issues in an open dialog format.

Open discussion and participation by all the FOIA professionals are encouraged at these meetings.  Further, the meetings provide virtual hands-on training on various software issues and workarounds for FOIA Express, Adobe Professional, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word when processing FOIA requests.  These trainings follow a scheduled training plan and cover topics relevant to the office's needs. 

The training goals for the office are to produce FOIA professionals with in-depth of knowledge of how and why to apply redactions when processing a request and the ability to negotiate effectively with a requester on various aspects of a FOIA request.

WHD FOIA staff provided hands-on training on August 10, 2023, to all of its FOIA professionals.  This training focused on managing case files in FOIAXpress.

In-house training provided during this reporting period included the following:

Standardization and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the office;

FOIA exemption (b)(4) and (b)(5) training;

Administrative closure requirements; and

FOIA fee requirements

  • Reviewing requester category
  • Fee waiver considerations
  • Assessing fees
  • Requester fee limits
  • Requester responses
  • Pre-payment or pay later
  • Delinquent requesters
  • Perfecting requests
  • Fee category explanations and definitions
  • Acceptable authorization letters for access to PII & other personal information
  • New FOIA template letters and how to use them
  • Administrative case files and documentation of FOIA request actions


B. Outreach

7. As part of the standard request process, do your FOIA professionals proactively contact requesters concerning complex or voluminous requests, in an effort to clarify or narrow the scope of the request so requesters can receive responses more quickly?  Yes.

Please describe any such outreach and dialogue and if applicable, any specific examples.

For example, MSHA FOIA Coordinators routinely provide requesters with relevant information to guide them through the FOIA process. They are informed of the approximate time needed to complete the request and are given the opportunities to modify their requests. Requesters are regularly notified of status updates pertaining to their requests such as when requests have been referred to another agency, rerouted to another office, or are delayed. MSHA FOIA Coordinators also direct requestors to data publicly available on MSHA's website if publicly available information will sufficiently respond to the request. These interactions helped ensure that FOIA requests were responded to in the most efficient and timely fashion.

In addition, the DOL FOIA Public Liaison routinely engages with requesters concerning complex or voluminous requests, to clarify or narrow the scope of the request so requesters can receive responses more quickly. In response to FOIA requests for records that may be located in multiple components of the Department, the FOIA Public Liaison reaches out on behalf of the records custodians to narrow the scope of requests, negotiate search terms, adjudicate fee matters and mediates matters regarding response times,  During FY 23, the FOIA Public Liaison addressed more than 600 inquiries from FOIA requesters and DOL agency components regarding the processing of their FOIA requests, addressed numerous inquiries from the public regarding how to submit FOIA requests and addressed general FOIA issues and mediated disputes between requesters and agency components,

8. Outside of the standard request process or routine FOIA Liaison or FOIA Requester Service Center interactions, did your FOIA professionals engage in any outreach or dialogue, with the requester community or open government groups regarding your administration of the FOIA?  For example, did you proactively contact frequent requesters, host FOIA-related conference calls with open government groups, or provide FOIA training to members of the public?  Please describe any such outreach or dialogue and, if applicable, any specific examples of how this dialogue has led to improvements in your agency's FOIA administration.  Yes.

Components provide information regarding specific outreach activities in the table below.

Agency Component

Outreach and Other Initiatives

Adj BdsThe FOIA Coordinator for the Boards meets periodically with various "non-FOIA" professionals to discuss FOIA related issues.

BLS routinely contacts requesters concerning complex and voluminous requests. 

For requests that may produce voluminous records, BLS proactively contacts the requesters to get an understanding of the information being sought.  When contacting a requester, BLS tries to determine if a narrower scope would best address the requester's needs in a timely matter.  For example, BLS recently contacted a requester when the request contained several generic terms that applied to most BLS surveys and would have resulted in thousands of records that would not be responsive to the requester's stated purpose.  Upon clarification, BLS was able to collaborate with the requester to tailor the request, resulting in providing the relevant records in a shorter time frame.

BLS contacts requesters with respect to complex requests.  For example, BLS received multiple requests from one requester within a short period of time.  The requester demonstrated some knowledge of BLS data, and staff in the BLS Office of Compensation and Working Conditions (OCWC) believed it would be helpful to speak with the requester directly to better understand the information being sought.  During the meeting, OCWC staff provided the requester with additional information regarding what BLS data was publicly available and explained why special tabulations that previously had been available, were no longer available.


EBSA FOIA professionals participate in dialogue and outreach with the requester community through the FOIA status box, as well as through the DOL FOIA Public Liaison to address and resolve any concerns raised by FOIA requesters.

Through phone calls, emails, and correspondences, EBSA FOIA professionals communicate with the requester community on an ongoing basis to clarify questions, negotiate the scope of requests, and address fee-related questions.  EBSA FOIA personnel maintain an open dialogue with most "frequent requesters." 

These coordination efforts also include informing non-FOIA professionals of their FOIA obligations including informing them of the Learning Link training available for non-FOIA professionals.  EBSA personnel, including contractors, must complete annual training on Information Systems Security and Privacy Awareness and Records Management for Everyone.


FOIA coordinators are required to notify requesters via email or phone as soon as they identify a possibility to narrow the scope of a voluminous or complex request. For clarification done via phone, a follow up email confirming the details of the conversation must be sent to the requester with two business days.

Each ETA program office has access to a customized report within FOIA Xpress that allows them to review their processing metrics. Program offices are also notified weekly regarding overdue requests using the report scheduler function within FOIAXpress.

ILABILAB's FOIA Coordinator contacts requesters when necessary to facilitate clarification, narrowing of scope with respect to requests.
MSHAMSHA FOIA coordinators often reach out to requestors to seek clarification or discuss narrowing the scope which often leads to a better understanding of the information sought. During these conversations, requesters are asked more definitive questions relative to their requests. As a result, records can then be provided in a more cost-effective and timely manner. This routinely happens with requests that ask for specific types of MSHA data. MSHA regularly updates its data through the Mine Data Retrieval System (MDRS) which is available to the public from MSHA's website. MSHA will contact FOIA requesters to explain how to retrieve various sets of data from the MDRS and as a result the requester is able to easily access the information more efficiently and frequently.

OALJ's FOIA Coordinator and Processors contact requesters through FOIAXpress correspondence and phone calls to determine if there is a way to narrow the scope of the request due to the volume of records being requested.   

OALJ provides orientation for new judges and new law clerks.  During that orientation, a session is given about the relationship between FOIA and administrative hearings, and what judges and law clerks should do when receiving a FOIA-related issue or assignment.

OALJ's intranet contains information accessible to all OALJ staff regarding FOIA responsibilities and procedures, DOL FOIA Guidance and resources, FOIA Memoranda and Manuals, DOJ FOIA Guides and DOL FOIA Training conference materials in addition to links to other FOIA resources.

Senior leaders are apprised of agency FOIA resources, obligations, and expectations.


As multiple requests are received, liaisons reach out to the requester personally with regard to scope and other processing related matters.  OASAM'S webpage has become a resource for both DOL and other federal agencies, the public, and the media for frequently sought after information. 

The OASAM FOIA coordinator is often required to provide guidance to requesters on the proper procedures for submitting FOIA information requests.  Regularly, OASAM receives requests for old documents that have been dispositioned and are no longer maintained by DOL, such as personnel related folders.  When the request is received from lawyers or other third-party representatives, the response requires a full explanation of the process on transferring Official Personnel Files (OPFs) to other agencies, or facilities.  After standardizing the response and providing clarification to numerous requests, the questions have greatly diminished the exchange between OASAM and the requester when a response of "no records" is provided.

OASAM usually clarifies incorrect requests or continue communication even after a response has been provided. This helps to minimize the number of appeals and/or confusion about the OHR process.  Additionally, OASAM will explain the purpose of any applied exemptions.

OASPOASP does engage with the requestor community, in coordination with SOL/OIS, on a case-by-case basis when clarifying and finalizing various requests for coordinated or consolidated FOIA treatment.

The Office of the Chief Financial Officer team informs SMEs of FOIA requirements and their responsibilities upon request or when they are involved in a records request, as appropriate. All OCFO employees are required to take Records Management training annually. OCFO defers to SOL on providing FOIA-specific training.

OCFO's intra and internet websites are updated regularly with relevant reporting and an invitation to submit comments and questions. DOL-OCFO has been publishing and regularly updating its FOIA Logs on since 2020.

OCIAFOIA staff routinely reach out requesters to discuss issues in relation to their requests.
ODEPODEP has no actions to report.

OFCCP reaches out to requesters to clarify or narrow the scope of a request when necessary. OFCCP reviews the request and makes an initial determination as to whether the request needs clarification or modification and informs the requester in the acknowledgment letter. When narrowing the scope of a request, OFCCP offers suggestions to the requester to assist both the requester and the agency in locating the records sought.

OFCCP recently reached out to a frequent requester and discussed making information about our scheduling letters publicly available.  The information discussed has now been made publicly available and has reduced the number of FOIAs received for certain items with the scheduling letters.

OIGThe FOIA Office routinely conducts individual routine outreach and dialogue via email, mail, and phone with the requester community in order to manage the FOIA workload, which includes unusual and complex cases. The DOL OIG FOIA office conducts outreach where the request is complex, and the response will be overdue because of the complexity and/or volume of material awaiting review. OIG has provided details about how information is maintained, in order to help the requestors reframe the request, so that a thorough search can be made for the responsive material. For example, requestors commonly seek the complete investigative file, which may involve a large volume of material. This office reaches out to requestors to consider narrowing the scope of the request to the investigative closing report, which might provide them with the most amount of condensed information that they are seeking. This dialogue has led to requestors' better understanding of the volume and complexity of FOIA requests received by the OIG. 
OLMSOLMS's extent of outreach and/or dialogue with the requester community or open government groups is comprised of access to extensive public information regarding our administration of the FOIA. We believe that our maintenance of this website contributes to the general public's submission of proper and clear written FOIA requests that are made by the correct means. OLMS continually updates its Online Public Disclosure room with new records. Inquiries for these records may arrive outside of FOIA and are handled daily with timely responses to emails to our posted contact OLMS also discloses Agency determinations, FOIA Reports, compliance resource materials, and records of claims, landmark decisions, and rural transit grants related to its transit employee protections program. See
OPAOPA did not engage in any significant FOIA outreach or other initiatives.
OSECOSEC routinely issues notices to requesters to clarify requests, narrow the scope of requests and make still interested inquiries regarding older requests.
OSHAThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration's requester community is highly diversified between media, individual requesters, unions and employers.  OSHA does substantial outreach with individual requesters.  Frequent requesters often call OSHA prior to filing their FOIA requests and OSHA works with them to structure the requests to keep fees, if any, low, and keep the processing time as short as possible. OSHA's requester community is highly diversified between media, individual requesters, unions and employers.  OSHA does substantial outreach with individual requesters.  Frequent requesters often call OSHA prior to filing their FOIA requests and OSHA works with them to structure the requests to keep fees, if any, low, and keep the processing time as short as possible.
OWCPOWCP Government Information Specialists routinely contact requesters, when appropriate, first by telephone and subsequently follow-up with them by email regarding the processing of their requests, which may involve complex EEOICPA claims data information and/or pertain to other FOIA issues that need to be resolved before processing the specific request in an effort to clarify or narrow the scope of the request so the requesters can receive our DEEOIC final responses in a timely manner.  Additionally, with regard to our DEEOIC processing of complex or voluminous requests, such as complex EEOICPA data requests, DEEOIC generally sends such requesters a FOIA request clarification letter, i.e., either part of our DEEOIC FOIA request acknowledgement letter or a separate FOIA request clarification letter, which explains the issues involved in the initial request and the need to clarify and reasonably describe the requested records or narrow the scope of the request.
SOLThe Office of the Solicitor is committed to FOIA outreach and continues to engage with external stakeholders.  The agency has conducted listening sessions with both Management and Plaintiff Bars. The Department's FOIA Public Liaison (who is housed within the Office of the Solicitor) reached out to several requesters on behalf of the Department and various agency components to discuss the scope on FOIA requests that required either consolidated or coordinated treatment due to either the volume or complexity of the requests.

VETS conducted outreach to its FOIA requesters in an effort to:

(1) Offer the requester an opportunity to narrow the scope of their request;

(2) Seek clarification of their request;

(3) Provide details concerning the circumstance(s) that may prevent timely processing of their request;

(4) Advise requesters of how their FOIA requests could be consolidated or how they could reduce charged fees by altering their request; and

(5) Propose, recommend and/or negotiate an alternate time frame for processing the requester's original FOIA and/or to modify it.


The Women's Bureau continued to ensure customer engagement through communications responsive to requesters that included follow-up emails and/or phone responses and FOIA-related guidance and information.  WB also continued to maintain links to FOIA guidelines and processes on its website.

WB maintained updated FOIA Website resource links to WB, DOL, and DOJ FOIA Websites regarding FOIA policies and guidelines to ensure information is readily and publicly available on WB's FOIA Webpage.


In January 2023, WHD's FOIA office formed a dedicated intake team.  This team reviews all in-coming requests for specificity and clarity when they are received.  Requesters who have submitted requests which are complex, voluminous, or vague are contacted by the intake team for additional information to clarify their requests.  Because of the nature of our records and the assurance of confidentiality provided to individuals who may have cooperated with our investigations, our office requires proof of identity before discussing any specific issues about an investigation case file.  However, our office does reach out to requesters to assist in reformulating requests and manage expectations on what documents they can reasonably expect to obtain from our agency.  The agency also offers services for mediation and offer links to procedural requirements for FOIA and Privacy Act requests.

This proactive outreach takes several forms.

Primarily WHD's template acknowledgement letter and other template letters sent by the intake team are designed to inform requesters of the most common records available through WHD and explain what those documents are to assist requesters in making informed decisions when requesting records.  The office regularly asks requesters to narrow the scope of their requests.  The agency's acknowledgement letter template includes language describing artifacts in our investigative case files known as the Compliance Action Report (CAR) and case narrative and asks requesters to consider narrowing the request to those documents to fast-track responses to their FOIA requests.  Some requesters are receptive to narrowing their requests and the success rate is fairly high in those cases.  In other cases, requesters will not narrow the scope of their requests and we move those requests to the complex track for action as they meet the criteria outlined for unusual circumstances.

In these other cases where requests are more complex, staff engages with requesters to determine if there are specific items which will satisfy their information needs but reduce the overall complexity of their request.  WHD uses targeted letters to requesters so they can understand the specific issue that makes their request vague or complex.  These letters ask requesters to either reformulate their requests or contact the agency's intake team for assistance in reformulating their request.

WHD also provides links to various self-help webpages maintained by WHD, particularly the Worker's Owed Wages website and the Enforcement Database can be very useful.  Each site hosts all publicly available information for requesters to determine if records are available and, in some cases, provide responses to a request without moving through the FOIA process.

The agency's intake team does reach out by phone to numerous requesters when requests are vague, and requesters may need assistance with issues.  In some cases, the requester is not submitting a FOIA request, but instead asking for assistance with some issue the Department could assist with (filing a complaint, asking for assistance with compliance, or determining if they are owed back wages).  In those cases, WHD contacts requesters to better assist them by routing their concern to the appropriate office for action or providing them with links to publicly available websites where the requesters can obtain that information.  The agency also assists requesters with reformulation of their requests where necessary, especially when the requester is not familiar with the FOIA process or is unclear about the status of their WHD investigation.  Further, we have numerous frequent requesters, and we proactively have reached out to those requesters to explain our processes and guide them to being able to submit more manageable requests so that their requests are processed in a more timely and efficient manner.  Our office has also proactively reached out to media requesters to assist them in requests to obtain information in a timely and efficient manner.

For example, WHD recently conducted negotiations with a major media organization who submitted 16 similar requests regarding child labor.  The agency was able to negotiate with them on providing a subset of documents which would provide them with the information and material they were interested in more quickly than processing potentially 1,000s of pages in those 16 investigation case files.  This successful negotiation allowed WHD to quickly process and close 16 requests.

These combined practices have allowed the agency to process requests in a timely manner and free up resources to process other requests and serve more customers in the end.


9. The FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 requires additional notification to requesters about the services provided by the agency's FOIA Public Liaison. Please provide an estimate of the number of times requesters sought assistance from your agency's FOIA Public Liaison during Fiscal Year 2023 (please provide a total number or an estimate of the number for the agency overall).

2023 FOIA Liaison Inquiries

Number of inquiries

(status/customer service/other)



C. Other Initiatives

10. Has your agency evaluated the allocation of agency personnel resources needed to respond to current and anticipated FOIA demands? If so, please describe what changes your agency has or will implement.

The U.S. Department of Labor operates within a decentralized FOIA program.  Although the administrative management of the program is within the Office of the Solicitor, each of its 23 agency components is responsible for determining and allocating agency personnel resources that are necessary in order to respond to their FOIA demands.  To supplement their staffing needs agency components utilized, the Department's "ROAD" detail program where employees have an opportunity to cross over from their respective agencies and for a specified amount of time, they can work within other DOL agency components to gain the experience, knowledge and training necessary to enhance their career paths.  This program has been utilized by a number of components in an effort to gain additional FTE resources that would not otherwise be available to meet their FOIA demands. 

MSHA has evaluated the allocation of agency personnel resources needed to respond to current and anticipated FOIA demands. One of MSHA's program areas hired a full-time coordinator who serves as a dedicated resource, to handle all requests and coordinate FOIA activities with the district offices. This individual will also provide proactive guidance and training to the district FOIA professionals addressing systemic issues, as necessary. They are also working to fill vacated positions throughout the district offices and are utilizing current personnel to respond to FOIA demands.

A new management team in WHD took over in 2022 and has made changes to the resources available to meet the current FOIA demands.  Budget challenges reduce the ability of the agency to hire in general and that includes resources for FOIA.  However, significant improvements to other aspects of the process changed the overall productivity of WHD's FOIA office in FY 2023.  The management team eliminated redundant administrative processes and streamlined other processes where possible, using these efficiencies to increase overall office productivity and improve customer service, The team created a dedicated intake team to manage requests coming into the office and standardized how requests were triaged and handled.  This has led to a decrease in the number of complex or unmanageable requests which has reduced the overall workload and time required to answer a majority of FOIA requests.  This change and the assistance provided by the intake team has increased the number of requests which can be processed within the statutory 20-day time limit.

These changes contributed to the agency's significant reduction in the backlog of FOIA cases to a level not seen in 10 years.  The changes implemented provided an impact in our processing capability and reduced time required to respond to FOIA requests.

EBSA continues working to fill vacant positions. The Regional and National Office FOIA Coordinators have had periods of loss due to general attrition and staff seeking other responsibilities. Passed budgetary funding levels have delayed filling keyed positions. However, EBSA has been striving to fill open positions and keep its staff.

11. How does your agency use data or processing metrics to ensure efficient management of your FOIA workload? For example, case management reports, staff processing statistics, etc. In addition, please specifically highlight any data analysis methods or technologies used.

The Department has a scorecard in which it reports performance metrics to agencies on a quarterly basis.  FOIA timeliness is measured within the scorecard.  In addition, agency components are encouraged to perform soft audits within FOIAXpress by generating customized reports that include backlog and annual report data.

OFCCP has hired 2 additional staff members to assist with the increase of requests that yield voluminous documents.

WHD uses FOIAXpress data and Excel to analyze processing metrics to ensure efficient management of the FOIA workload.  These reports are reviewed twice weekly to manage the incoming requests, closed requests, and backlog count.  Using these reports in general provides a macro-level view of the program overall.  The reports and data tools available through FOIAXpress also assist in the monitoring of the work and productivity of individual analysts assigned case files in the system.  These additional reports provide office management a micro-level view of analyst productivity and workload to address shortfalls and potential areas where re-balancing of the workload is necessary to ensure that maximum effort is deployed in responding to FOIA requests.

MSHA utilizes the data provided by FOIAXpress to ensure efficient management of its FOIA workload. All active and closed requests are monitored daily. In addition to reviewing the data in the system daily, MSHA runs weekly reports that show the number of requests received and processed for the week, as well as for the year. MSHA also tracks the percentage of FOIA requests processed within 20 working days and the number of overdue FOIA requests. Individual program offices utilize Microsoft Excel to track their incoming and outgoing FOIA requests. All of these metrics are shared with MSHA management.

OSHA has a decentralized FOIA program with national, regional, and area offices. OSHA requires all national and regional offices to review their backlogs every two weeks and report that backlog to the National Office FOIA coordinator in OOC. OOC routinely runs fee and backlog reports and discusses any issues of concern with the appropriate action office.  Data on the age of OSHA requests is provided to OSHA processing units to allow emphasis on the oldest requests.

EBSA uses data from FOIAXpress to run reports for tracking active requests and to look at statistical reports on backlog and overdue cases.  EBSA Regional Offices also report weekly to the National Office Lead FOIA Coordinator on Sensitive, Overdue, and On-Hold requests received and reports this information the National Office FOIA Disclosure Officer.  The FOIA Disclosure Officer updates the EBSA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy on the status of these requests.

The OIG recently migrated to FOIAXpress for case tracking, correspondence, processing, and reporting.  The agency is able to monitor the case volume, statuses, backlog reduction progress, and case completion progress. In addition, the OIG uses data reports from its legacy Oracle system to run various reports and comparisons that can be pulled for different time periods.  The agency routinely conducts self-assessments and comparisons, by running weekly and quarterly reports for the backlog and processed and open requests, sorted by simple and complex categories of request.

The Office of the Solicitor (SOL) serves as another example.  The agency Lead FOIA Coordinator utilizes the FOIAXpress reports feature to run various customized reports, in an effort to assess FOIA backlog; make determinations regarding the effectiveness and efficiency of SOL's FOIA program; brief leadership; respond to FOIA requests that are seeking detailed information regarding the disposition of requests and determine the agency's ten oldest requests.

OASP uses FOIAXpress to compile reports and conduct weekly discussions to provide up-to-date information as it relates to any FOIA issue(s) that need to be addressed.  A weekly FOIA report is provided to leadership to ensure efficient administration of FOIAs assigned to OASP.

12. Optional -- If there are any other initiatives undertaken by your agency to ensure fair and effective FOIA administration, please describe them here.

MSHA's FOIA officer monitors pending requests and has meetings with management to discuss upcoming FOIA issues and backlog. Additional status meetings were held with individual program offices to answer any questions, ensure requests are handled timely, and identify any obstacles that may hinder the agency in meeting deadlines. MSHA headquarters program offices work closely with their divisions and district offices to ensure uniformity in addressing FOIA responses, as well as serve as the primary point of contract to troubleshoot and provide consistent guidance on critical and complex issues as they arise. FOIA coordinators consult with subject matter experts to ensure appropriate exemptions are applied, and if another program area or government agency should be involved in the processing of a request. Clear and frequent communication with requesters and other FOIA coordinators is also a very important practice to ensure a FOIA system operates efficiently and effectively. MSHA conducts quarterly and annual certification data reviews of the FOIA database to ensure that all FOIA information has been entered, properly coded, all letters and correspondence have been uploaded, tolls are entered and closed correctly, and once completed all requests were properly closed out in the system.

During this reporting period, WHD's FOIA management staff undertook a comprehensive review of the entire FOIA program.  This review identified areas where deficiencies existed on administering the FOIA program and took steps to mitigate those deficiencies, thus reducing WHD's backlog of FOIAs to a 10 year low.  WHD FOIA staff continues to operate in a backlog but has taken steps to manage expectations of requesters, to increase transparency, and reduce miscommunication and misunderstandings.


The Attorney General's FOIA Guidelines emphasize that "proactive disclosure of information is . . . fundamental to the faithful application of the FOIA." The Guidelines direct agencies to post "records online quickly and systematically in advance of any public request" and reiterate that agencies should post records "in the most useful, searchable, and open formats possible."

1. Please describe what steps your agency takes to identify, track, and post (a)(2) proactive disclosures.

Each DOL agency component is responsible for identifying, tracking and posting proactive disclosures.  The timeline for posting varies for each component.  For example:

The OIG has published more information on its website such as updated FOIA request procedures including how to submit requests using OIG's new and active Public Access Link (PAL).  The link to this information is available on the OIG FOIA website. The FOIA office has also encouraged OIG staff, when possible, to write sensitive audit reports in such a way that they do not include FOIA sensitive information and can be published on the OIG website without disturbing the integrity of the audit report. Further, each of the OIG component areas routinely identify emerging issues such as notable investigations, audits, alerts and upcoming audit projects and they are posted to the OIG website. The website information is routinely maintained and updated by the OIG staff.  

Due to the broad scope of the majority of the requests OIG receives, (for example, "Any and all investigations involving Unemployment Insurance Fraud since 2020…") OIG does not have the means to track and proactively post every individual investigation that may or may not have been included in a final production.

MSHA's FOIA coordinators will notify MSHA's FOIA officer of requests for records that have been requested three or more times.

WHD has used its FOIA Library to proactively post numerous documents and resources to promote public awareness of its programs and activities to the public.  Agency guidance such as Agency Opinion Letters are available online, workers may search the Workers Owed Wages site to determine if they are owed any back wages, and general enforcement information is available on the Enforcement Database website.    Notwithstanding our commitment to proactive disclosures, certain obstacles exist in deciding on whether it is appropriate to post specific types of information even when they have been requested more than three times.  Due to the nature and scope of WHD's enforcement responsibilities, many of the requests received by component are from 1st party requesters and many of the repeat FOIA requests are generated from separate 1st party requesters.  This type of FOIA release produces records that are not available for release to the general public because of privacy concerns in releasing 1st party information.  While additional steps could be taken to sanitize those records for release, to the general public (or any interested 3rd party requester), there still may be issues regarding the disclosure of information that could adversely impact current investigations or cases in litigation.

2. How long after identifying a record for proactive disclosure does it take your agency to post it?

There is currently no agency policy or mandated timeline in which to post proactive disclosures.

3. Does your agency post logs of its FOIA requests? Yes, as deemed appropriate.

  • If so, what information is contained in the logs?

Due to the decentralized structure of the Department's FOIA programs, there are some agencies that post FOIA logs and some that do not because there are no requests for logs. 

FOIAXpress is the Department's FOIA case management system.  Its functionality allows the creation of logs that contain a multitude of fields.  Typically, a responsive log will contain at a minimum the requester name; record number; date of receipt; description; agency assigned and disposition.

  • Are they posted in CSV format?  If not, what format are they posted in?

Yes.  However, some logs are posted in pdf format.

4. Provide examples of any material that your agency has proactively disclosed during the past reporting year, including records that have been requested and released three or more times in accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(2)(D). Please include links to these materials as well.

OASAM proactively discloses contracting materials for all of DOL's agency components at:

Agency Component

Proactive Disclosures

Links to Proactive Disclosures

Adj BdsThe Boards had no situations where proactive disclosures were applicable. 

The agency posts FOIA logs on the BLS public website.  This is updated every quarter. 

The BLS provides economic releases and high-level data related to these topics on the public-facing website. 

The agency is committed to providing a high level of customer service.  BLS staff of experts quickly and efficiently answer questions from the public.  At the top of every webpage, you'll find a link to the contact us page. The "contact us" page includes phone numbers, email, and physical addresses for national and regional statistical and information staffs. 

As a Federal statistical agency, BLS conducts work in an open environment. Major changes in program design, scope, or methods are discussed in advance with users and advisory committees and described in published materials. Fair information practices are used, such as maintaining the confidentiality of individual responses. Confidentiality of the information that respondents furnish is assured by protecting the microdata, combining the data reported, and issuing the findings in summary tables, analyses, and reports.

The BLS Data Tools main page can be found here:

  • EBSA's dynamic Website is updated regularly with new and updated materials.
  • The No Surprises Act had a lot of activity with new guidance and rulemaking and related information issued. EBSA quickly posted the new information on the EBSA website on the dedicated web page for the law to make it easy to find for those looking to understand the new provisions.
  • Proactive disclosures such as key rulemaking and their public comments are timely posted on EBSA's Website. In the fiscal year 2023, EBSA posted almost 1400 comments on proposed rules. EBSA's public comments index page is at
  • This year there was a substantial increase in rulemaking activity, including public hearings. EBSA timely posted information on requests to testify, hearing agendas, links to register, as well as hearing follow up including posting written testimony and hearing transcripts.
  • Other proactive disclosures such as EBSA's FOIA reading room and Critical status notices are available at, and
  • EBSA posted new notices and gave pertinent information on notices that were not required to be posted to make it easier for people to find critical information related to their benefits and plans. These include the section 101(e) notices and the GINA notices.
  • EBSA also added most of its guidance, including advisory opinions back to 1995, to the Department's guidance portal to make it easier for people to find the agency's interpretations of the law.
  • EBSA also timely posted the CHIP model notices and updates to the OMB PRA renewal dates.


Within ETA, the Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) proactively discloses information of interest to the public at

The Office of Financial Administration (OFA) discloses Budget Information, State Statutory Formula Funding, Quarterly State WIOA Spending Summaries, Annual State WIOA Obligation Summaries, WIOA Spending and Obligation Rate Visualizations. This information can be found at

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) proactively discloses their annual reports, snapshot views of OFLC selected statistic cumulative quarterly excerpts of program information involving major immigration programs and quarterly and annual releases of program disclosure data to assist with external research and program evaluation. This information can be found on their website at

The Office of Job Corps publishes an extensive array of information and performance data at;

ETA publishes internal FOIA SOPs and guidance materials for all personnel on;

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification also publishes redacted copies of employer job orders at;

The Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance publishes TAA petitions at:

The Office of Unemployment Insurance publishes information of interest to the general public on its website at

The Office of Workforce Investment (OWI) publishes WOTC certification data on

The Office of Policy Development Research (OPDR) has updated the research and evaluation website to post all new reports at

ETA/OA posts five years of Registered Apprenticeship national program data and statistics on its website (accessible by the public at

A variety of tutorials, web trainings, and public postings throughout ETA components, in addition to the posting of FOIA SOPS, are used to ensure that the presumption of openness is being applied (see links below in Section III).

ETA Advisories are emailed upon posting to the impacted stakeholder community. Examples are available at that takes user to a doleta link. OUI proactively discloses information of interest to the general public on its website at

All distributed information is 508 compliant and websites are routinely monitored and updated.  The list of common mistakes for Advisories is based, in part, on correcting information so it is more useful to the public.

ILABILAB has not had proactive disclosures during this reporting period. 

MSHA has received multiple data requests and regularly updates its data in our Mine Data Retrieval System which is available at:

Additionally, MSHA investigates each mining fatality and prepares the following documents to alert the mining community and prevent similar occurrences.

  • Fatality Alert - describes the accident and lists best practices that may have prevented it
  • Preliminary Report - initial report with brief description
  • Final Report - investigative findings, including root causes and enforcement actions

This information is also located on the MSHA public website at the following link:


OALJ posts all orders issued by its administrative law judges to its website.  These documents are easily accessed via the website's Case Status Lookup, available at Office of Administrative Law Judges - U.S. Department of Labor - Case Status Lookup (, as well as in OALJ's other search options. See Search Tools | U.S. Department of Labor (

OALJ also posts a quarterly case inventory report detailing information on total pending cases, disposed cases, and median processing time for each disposition at

The PDF for the first quarter of fiscal year 2022 is available at:

The OALJ FOIA Coordinator, in conjunction with other FOIA personnel, identifies (a)(2) proactive disclosures and works with our website content managers to post these on one of our proactive disclosure pages. 

The Office of the Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) publishes bench books and research materials related to each of its main program areas on its website,


OASAM Centers with webpages work constantly to maintain up-to-date information on their sites.  The agency works collaboratively to ensure all language is uniform and accurate.  They value their users' comments and are open to new ideas that will improve service, delivery and access to public information.

In addition to links for external agency sites and internal DOL sites, background information is provided so that requesters understand why they are being redirected and not receiving the requested report(s) from DOL. An understanding of the process and/or agencies involved is proving helpful.

OASAM ensures that all information posted is 508 compliant.

OASPOASP did not proactively disclose any material during FY 2023. 

DOL-OCFO financial, audit, performance, strategic, and performance reporting:


OCIAOCIA did not proactively post documents during FY 2023. 

ODEP, through its Division of Policy Communication and Outreach, regularly updates its website to provide the most relevant and current information to stakeholders. For example, ODEP currently features a dedicated landing page with materials regarding National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).

ODEP also includes specific landing pages for popular initiatives such as the State Exchange on Employment & Disability and the Retaining Employment and Talent after Injury/Illness Network.

The website provides weekly updates and news briefs.

OFCCP posts its Conciliation Agreements in its FOIA Reading Room. 

Conciliation Agreements are formal agreements signed by OFCCP and the federal contractors' top officials, which outline all identified violations, and require the contractors to implement specific remedies and formally report to the OFCCP for a specified period of time.

OFCCP also posts datasets covering its projected case scheduling and historical performance information on enforcement in its FOIA Library.

OFCCP posts FAQs, technical assistance guides and other stakeholder resources at:


Scheduled Review List

EEO-1 reports for reporting years 2016-2020


The OIG is a criminal law enforcement agency responsible for conducting investigations and audits, each of which is unique. The sensitivities associated with each investigative matter are not considered common types of material that can be released outside of the FOIA.

The DOL OIG continues to post audit reports, recommendations dashboard, alert memos, and investigative summaries on the agency website. All such documents can be found under the tab for "Publications & Reports" on the OIG's website:

OLMSOLMS continually provides proactive disclosures and updates the site to add new releases. These records are related to OLMS's administration and enforcement of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA). The records include Trusteeship Case Decisions; Transit Employee Protection Decisions; OLMS Director and Assistant Secretary Decisions and Orders; Form LM-2 Hardship Determinations; and Frequently Requested Reports (CAP Closing Letters, I-CAP Closing Letters, OLMS Historical Enforcement Data, OLMS Annual Reports), and Statutory Program's Certification Determinations and Claims Decisions made pursuant to 49 U.S.C § 5333(b).

OPAOPA has not proactively posted any FOIA materials during the reporting year. 

The agency provides calendars and travel itineraries for several agency leadership to website for the ease of providing a quick response to requestors.  The information is updated on a periodic basis.

OSHA has an extremely robust website with over 80,000 pages of information.  OSHA data, guidance, news and other information is readily available on the site.

OSHA continues to post cumulative data about the number of incoming safety and health and whistleblower complaints on a monthly basis. Data & Statistics | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (

Within OWCP, during FY 2023, the DEEOIC proactively disclosed and posted records on the DEEOIC Public Reading-room webpage, which include:

  • EEOICPA Actuarial Report – EEOICPA Estimate of Liabilities,
  • DEEOIC's Response to DOL Ombudsman's Report, 
  • EEOICP Summary Statistics, on a monthly basis,
  • Accountability and Quality Review Findings,
  • Customer Experience Work Products:
    • Examples of Customer Surveys conducted,
    • Survey Reports written from Survey Results (16 total in FY23),
    • FY 2023 Quarterly Customer Experience Survey Results;
      • Ongoing Quarterly Survey Reports,
      • One-Time Survey Reports,
      • Outreach Event Survey Reports,
    • Infographics created to better inform the public about Program services,
    • Journey Maps for 3 of the 4 Service Delivery Channels provided by DEEOIC,
    • Webinar (public presentation) materials about Customer Experience at DEEOIC.

The web-link for the DEEOIC FOIA Public Reading Room is:

Beyond posting the above-mentioned types of records to the DEEOIC Public Reading-room, DEEOIC uploads other important DEEOIC-EEOICPA materials to other sections of the DEEOIC website that are helpful to EEOICPA Stakeholders, such as the most current updated Federal EEOICPA Procedure Manual and EEOICPA Final Bulletins and EEOICPA  Final Circulars, under EEOICPA Laws and Internal Procedures | U.S. Department of Labor ( and DEEOIC Outreach Webinar materials, under Past Events | U.S. Department of Labor (
SOLThe Office of the Solicitor has an on-line "Brief Bank" in which several legal briefs and opinions were posted during FY
VETSVETS uses its main public website to proactively post and disclose its accessible information, materials and data proactively disclosed during this reporting period. The link is at

News & Media:

Updates & Reports:


HIREVets Award Recipients:

Monthly Unemployment Data:

USERRA Report to Congress:

USERRA Program Information:

Military Spouse Legislation: 

(Resources and Training)

Transition Assistance Program (TAP) Information:

Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) Award Notifications: for further information:

WBThe Women's Bureau made no proactive disclosures during the timeframe of this report. 

WHD has posted numerous documents online during the reporting period.

The workers owed wages site has all workers who may be owed back wages available publicly.

The agency provides publicly available information on investigations undertaken at the enforcement database website:

The agency provides employers with numerous resources related to compliance and guidance.

Additionally, the agency provides a Regulatory Library to assist in compliance with the various laws and acts enforced by WHD.

The following documents from previous years are still available online:

  • Field Operation Handbook Chapters 10-16, 20-25, 30-33, 36, 39, 46, 64,
  • Field Assistant Bulletins
  • Purchase Card Holders
  • Federal Register Documents
  • Opinion Letters


5. Beyond posting new material, is your agency taking steps to make the posted information more useful to the public, especially to the community of individuals who regularly access your agency's website?  Yes

OSHA posted over 3,000 webpages of new or revised content in FY2023 across all of its web resource on as well as

EBSA has made materials 508 compliant and updated the process in which requesters seek bulk data, such as, the ERISA filing bulk data access by providing user accounts and passwords to requesters who are seeking this data directly from the website.  Previously, these requests were processed in 20 business days and now it takes approximately one day.

The main users of the BLS website are primarily interested in economic data.  The BLS measures labor market activity, working conditions, price changes, and productivity in the U.S. economy to support public and private decision making.  BLS experts quickly and efficiently answer questions from the public.  At the top of every program webpage, you'll find a link to a "contact us" page.  The "contact us" page includes phone numbers, email, and physical addresses for national and regional statistical and information staffs.  Each program maintains a Frequently Requested Materials (FAQ) page and a Handbook of Methods (HOM), which provides detailed methodology on specific BLS data products.

BLS FOIA staff has provided clear instructions on the BLS FOIA public website to differentiate between data requests and FOIA requests in an effort to better serve the public.  If requesters follow the data request process instead of the FOIA request process, they will often receive a faster response and will be put in contact with the subject matter experts. 

6. If yes, please provide examples of such improvements. In particular, please describe steps your agency is taking to post information in open, machine-readable, and machine-actionable formats, to the extent feasible. If not posting in open formats, please explain why and note any challenges.

The Department posts its annual reports in open, machine-readable formats.

OFCCP and OSHA make all of its postings 508 compliant to make its documents available to those with disabilities.

BLS values cooperation with data users and consults with a broad spectrum of users of its data to make its products more useful.  As part of the BLS customer pledge to the public, the Bureau promises to help users understand the uses and limitation of the data. 

The BLS Data Tools main page can be found here:

7. Does your proactive disclosure process or system involve any collaboration with agency staff outside the FOIA office, such as IT or data personnel? If so, describe this interaction.

Yes.  The DOL website is managed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management – Office of the Chief Information Officer (OASAM-OCIO).  All modifications to internal and public facing pages must be approved and implemented by that office.  This means that FOIA Service Center staff must collaborate with that office in order to post proactive disclosures and make changes to their FOIA pages.

The WHD FOIA team collaborates with various offices and staff within and outside WHD.  Within WHD, FOIA team collaborates with the Data Analysis staff, and regional/investigators throughout the nation.  WHD's management has had discussions with the data team about issues that would be in harmony with the FOIA office's goals and initiatives.  These discussions have focused on the concepts of proactive disclosures of records and release of information that could be made available to the public proactively.  But because of the nature of the records and potential law enforcement activity which may be connected to such data sets, determining what can be released proactively without need for exemption under FOIA is an ongoing topic for discussion.

WHD has vast amounts of data, but much of that data contains fields which would be withheld under FOIA due to litigation, for express or implied confidentiality given to witnesses or informants, and because much of the data involves some degree of personal information (PII) which must be redacted prior to release.  Aggregate data is released proactively by the data team, but more specific data regarding individual investigations or complaints are much more sensitive and would not be appropriate for blanket disclosure under FOIA or the Federal Data Strategy.

Another collaboration is with the Department's Public Affairs office on ways WHD could improve its messaging through media by providing additional resources to news media outlets and reduce the need for media to submit FOIA requests for information which could be released by the public affairs office in conjunction with a press release or announcement.

8. Optional -- Please describe the best practices used to improve proactive disclosures and any challenges your agency faces in this area.

OSHA social media posts are 508 compliant. For example, graphics have alternative texts for the visually impaired.  These posts and subscriptions are available in English and Spanish.  Access to these messages can also be viewed on mobile devices.

The 385,445 subscribers to OSHA's newsletter QuickTakes receive "Did You Know?" emails with important safety messages. "Workplace Safety Reminder" subscribers receive detailed and in-depth safety messages.  Finally, "OSHA Alerts" focus attention on worker safety and health issues and solutions aimed at media professionals.

The best practice for WHD has been the use of its public website to make numerous proactive disclosures, such as Agency Opinion Letters.  Workers may also search the Workers Owed Wages site to determine if they are owed any back wages, and general enforcement information available on the Enforcement Database website.

The primary challenges WHD faces in proactive disclosure of information on a publicly accessible website are the potential for release of personally identifiable information (PII) and potential interference with law enforcement activities or litigation.  These concerns stem from the possibility of harm or retaliation against witnesses, informants, or complainants who provided information or cooperated in an investigation by WHD.

In many cases Wage and Hour Division provides access to information regarding aspects of a particular investigation or complaints filed.  The information made available publicly is scrubbed for potential PII and law enforcement activities.  However, most of WHD's FOIA requests are for information or data sets which are deliberately not included in those publicly available records.  This is a challenge, when many of the requesters are media organizations or other 3rd party individuals with no connection to the information requested.  These 3rd party FOIA requests require review of the records for information which falls into exemption (b)(6) for privacy and exemption (b)(7) for various aspects of law enforcement information.  This requirement for review, hinders the agency's ability to make proactive disclosures of the information on a publicly available website.


A key component of FOIA administration is using technology to make information available to the public and to gain efficiency in FOIA processing. The Attorney General's FOIA Guidelines emphasize the importance of making FOIA websites easily navigable and complying with the interoperability requirements. Please answer the following questions to describe how your agency is using technology to improve its FOIA administration and the public's access to information.

1. Has your agency reviewed its FOIA-related technological capabilities to identify resources needed to respond to current and anticipated FOIA demands?  Yes

2. Please briefly describe any new types of technology your agency began using during the reporting period to support your FOIA program.

Agency Component

Steps Taken to Greater Utilize Technology

Adj BdsThe Adjudicatory Boards currently utilize DOL's FOIAXpress case management system to automate processing of requests and recordkeeping.  The FOIA Coordinator also uses One Drive to store records and has created a FOIA shared file folder where staff members can upload current responsive records for a specific FOIA case and review and redact records electronically as well and save them for future reference.

During FY23, the agency started using Kiteworks to send large responses.  Kiteworks is a FedRAMP authorized, secure file sharing platform.  When BLS sends an email to a requester through Kiteworks, they receive a link to a site to securely download all of their responsive records.  Before Kiteworks, the agency would send the responsive records to the requester through a series of multiple emails.  Kiteworks has simplified and organized our process for delivering documents to the requester.

BLS has fully transitioned to using FOIAXpress to process requests.  The agency also uses FOIAXpress for redactions instead of Adobe Acrobat.

EBSAEBSA uses FOIAXpress for processing FOIA requests.  The National and Regional FOIA staff continue to use a common drive to share FOIA records between EBSA offices for redaction purposes.

The Employment and Training Administration FOIA staff is utilizing FOIAXpress for request processing and is exploring new redaction features such as find and redact and electronic document review.

Due to the volume of responsive documents, ETA started using the Kiteworks application to transmit and deliver documents exceeding the 250mb capability of FOIAXpress.

ILABDuring this reporting period, the electronic FOIA case management system, FOIAXpress, is still considered to be a newer technology used for ILAB's utilization, tracking, monitoring, creating pre-generated response letters, and generating a wide variety of FOIA reports.  The system works well and like its predecessor SIMS FOIA, it is easy to navigate and track both simple and complex requests, as well as closeout cases more efficiently.

MSHA utilizes Adobe Auto Portfolio for the deduplication of emails, Adobe Creative Cloud Premiere to redact photos and videos, including their audio tracks, and Kiteworks to securely distribute large volumes of documents to FOIA requesters.  MSHA also utilizes databases MCAS and MSIS to conduct searches for responsive records related to data. We estimate that using these products has reduced our time by at least 50%.

In addition, MSHA's FOIA Coordinators used a shared drive to share standardized letters, responsive records for consultation, and excel spreadsheets to track overdue requests. Sharing files facilitates efficiency by organizing files and making them easier to access. MSHA's FOIA Officer consults with OCIO to conduct complex email searches. 

OALJOALJ has reviewed its technological capabilities and is currently using Adobe and FOIAXpress for FOIA processing.

The agency utilizes all current electronic search methods, (i.e., FOIAXpress, emails, data storage systems, and contract writing systems).

It implemented an online tool (FOIAXpress) to process, record, track and craft responses.

OASAM's Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) has developed the ESI program to efficiently search for and deliver data as requested by requestors.

ESI searches both the Cloud and the network.  Cloud based searches consist of e-mail and other cloud-based data.  These searches are executed using e-discovery tools within Microsoft Office 365.  Other searches of physical machines and other network storage are executed via the use of DT search software.

OASPOASP utilizes the Electronic Search (E-Search) functions and capabilities within our IT Department to conduct a search for records if needed.  The agency also uses Adobe for redactions and is working to strengthen its use of the FOIAXpress case management system.
OCFOThe Office of the Chief Financial Officer utilizes the FOIAXpress case management system for processing FOIA requests.
OCIAOCIA is now using the Department's new FOIAXpress system for FOIA case management.  Adobe Acrobat is also used by the agency.
ODEPODEP uses FOIAXpress to process, track and control FOIA requests.  year.
OFCCPOFCCP uses FOIAXpress, SharePoint and Adobe Acrobat to facilitate the processing of its requests.
OIGThe Office of the Inspector General recently completed its migration to a new FOIA tracking system in response to the need to modernize the OIG FOIA program yet maintain an independent instance of the same FOIA system used by the Department. This will provide an efficient means of providing the same reporting formats to the Department without compromising the OIG's independence in its FOIA system. The new system will afford the collection of more types of data reporting as well as storing correspondence and producing reports.
OLMSOLMS FOIA personnel continue to use FOIAXpress as its FOIA case management system.  The agency also updates and maintains an online feedback tool to the public regarding any information listed on the website, this includes the OLMS Online FOIA Reading Room.
OPAThe Office of Public Affairs utilizes email, E-Discovery, OCIO ESI Online Search, key word searches, KiteWorks, Deloitte Relativity and FOIAXpress.
OSECOSEC is utilizing the Department's FOIAXpress case management system. The agency also conducts some searches via ESI E-Discovery tool for electronic searches and Adobe Acrobat software for redactions.
OSHAOSHA continues to use Adobe Acrobat combined with the Autoportfolio plugin to process most FOIA records.

Beyond utilizing the DOL FOIAXpress database, the DEEOIC National Office uses SharePoint for all DEEOIC FOIA request processing.  DEEOIC utilizes a SharePoint share-drive for the gathering of responsive records and the review of unredacted and redacted responsive records for the FOIA requests.  This allows DEEOIC officials and staff members to upload responsive emails and other records to an electronic FOIA request record central location.

Through the use of a SharePoint-shared-drive, others can view the responsive records that have already been located.  Uploading responsive emails and other records to SharePoint reduces the number of duplicative records and search time for others. Additionally, the DEEOIC National Office utilizes SharePoint to review draft FOIA request correspondence letters and final response determinations, which has resulted in a time-efficient clearance-review process to finalize responses to FOIA requests. 


The Office of the Solicitor utilizes various technologies to perform FOIA related duties within the agency.

It uses SharePoint and has begun to create a centralized repository of SOL related documents. 

The Office of the Solicitor serves as the Business Manager for FOIAXpress, the Department's sole FOIA case management system. In addition, the agency facilitates the use of Kiteworks for the transmission of large case files and electronic documents.

Adobe Acrobat is generally used for document sanitation and redaction methodology. 

Microsoft TEAMS, WebEX and Cisco Jabber are the primary choices for the facilitation of meetings and training sessions.  In some instances, with the assistance of OASAM-OCIO, SOL uses the ESI E-Discovery tool to search for documents located on the DOL network.


VETS is currently using the following technology:

  • FOIAXpress

WB utilized the DOL FOIAXpress System to effectively and efficiently manage its FOIA program.  The FOIAXpress System provides improved technology features, enhanced FOIA Tracking functionality, workflow processes, reporting capabilities, ability to communicate with requesters directly, record redaction, and fee processing in a more comprehensive and efficient manner.

WB also uses technology that include MS Word and, Outlook to efficiently manage and process FOIA requests, conduct electronic email searches, track data, and complete quarterly and annual agency and departmental reporting.


WHD staff utilizes the following electronic mechanisms for FOIA processing:

  • FOIAXpress;
  • Relativity;
  • Electronic Document Review within FOIAXpress; and
  • Kiteworks for large file transfers


3. Does your agency currently use any technology to automate record processing? For example, does your agency use machine learning, predictive coding, technology assisted review or similar tools to conduct searches or make redactions? If so, please describe and, if possible, estimate how much time and financial resources are saved since implementing the technology.  Yes

DOL utilizes the FOIAXpress case management system as its sole source for data and processing FOIA requests.  The system contains the functionality that allows for technology assisted review of documents and has the capability to conduct searches, de-dupe, as well as make redactions and store responsive documents.

As part of the IT Modernization Project, the OASAM - Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) developed the Electronically Stored Information (ESI) E-Discovery request system to search more efficiently for agency records.

Components have taken additional steps to leverage technology for more efficient processing.  For example, WHD has invested in providing each FOIA professional with a copy of Adobe Professional.  This software allows for the use of optical character recognition (OCR) to assist in reviewing documents provided to the analysts for review.  The addition of Adobe Professional has assisted with the ability to OCR documents and utilize the features of Adobe to scan for repetitive items within a document set.  However, depending on the nature of the documents, the utility of this feature is somewhat limited.  Typically, our records contain very few repetitive items requiring redaction, so the utility of using this feature outside of the system is somewhat limiting.  It can assist in locating or ensuring that items are not missed in a review of the record set, but that is the only benefit. 

BLS FOIA staff developed and ran a Visual Basic (VBA) code to convert thousands of emails to PDF.  Previously, the agency converted these emails manually, which was an extremely time-consuming process for larger requests.  This script has saved BLS hours of staff labor for large requests.

4. OIP issued guidance in 2017 encouraging agencies to regularly review their FOIA websites to ensure that they contain essential resources and are informative and user-friendly. Has your agency reviewed its FOIA website(s) during the reporting period to ensure it addresses the elements noted in the guidance?

Yes.  For example, OLMS provides their email address, for the public to submit questions related to any documents or materials posted on their website, including the OLMS Online FOIA Reading Room.    

5. Did all four of your agency's quarterly reports for Fiscal Year 2023 appear on


6. If your agency did not successfully post all quarterly reports on, please explain why and provide your agency's plan for ensuring that such reporting is successful in Fiscal Year 2024.


7. The FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 requires all agencies to post the raw statistical data used to compile their Annual FOIA Reports. Please provide the link to this posting for your agency's Fiscal Year 2022 Annual FOIA Report and, if available, for your agency's Fiscal Year 2023 Annual FOIA Report.

8. In February 2019, DOJ and OMB issued joint Guidance establishing interoperability standards to receive requests from the National FOIA Portal on Are all components of your agency in compliance with the guidance? Yes

9. Optional -- Please describe the best practices used in greater utilizing technology and any challenges your agency faces in this area.

In addition to FOIAXpress, MSHA's program offices utilize Microsoft Excel to internally track its FOIA requests. MSHA's FOIA Coordinators make extensive use of the Adobe Acrobat Pro redacting tools to redact information in responsive documents. All files are processed electronically and are stored on internal shared drives using a standardized folder structure. For large, complex searches, standardized search parameters are provided to use in Microsoft Outlook and File Explorer searches. The Auto Portfolio plug- in software for Adobe that de-duplicates emails, extracts email file attachments and converts them to PDF format.  In addition, it allows users to convert portfolios, exports email metadata into Excel or HTML formats and expedites the processing of requests for email communications. This software has significantly decreased the review time for our FOIA Coordinators. Adobe Creative Cloud/Premiere is utilized to redact photos and videos including audio tracks. MSHA has found that some responsive files are too large to send through FOIAXpress or regular e-mail. As such, Kiteworks is now used to send very large files to requesters.


The Attorney General's FOIA Guidelines instruct agencies "to remove barriers to requesting and accessing government records and to reduce FOIA processing backlogs." Please answer the following questions to describe how your agency is removing barriers to access, improving timeliness in responding to requests, and reducing FOIA backlogs.

A. Remove Barriers to Access

1. Has your agency established alternative means of access to first-party requested records outside of the FOIA process?

There is no Department-wide uniform policy with respect to how individual agency components provide access to first party requested records outside of the FOIA process.  However, some agencies, like the OIG, provide access to first party requested records outside of the FOIA process when those records are fully releasable to the first party requester or their duly authorized representative, such as to the Human Resources Office.

2. If yes, please provide examples. If no, please indicate why not. Please also indicate if you do not know.

See response to question 1, above.

3. Please describe any other steps your agency has taken to remove barriers to accessing government information.

The U.S. Department of Labor procured the FOIAXpress case management system in an effort to remove barriers to accessing government information.  The system has functionality that includes the Public Access Link, which enables the citizenry to submit FOIA requests directly to the agency by creating accounts within the system.  The general public is also able to communicate directly with DOL staff who are processing requests via the FOIAXpress built in messaging system.  Requesters are also able to obtain processing status updates, as well as receive responsive documents directly from the system. 

The OASAM FOIA website provides links to general information and other federal agencies, as well as instructions for locating employment records of non-federal workers. The DOL receives numerous requests for employment history from the public. Responses providing instructions on where to locate the information from the government are provided, but it is also included on our webpage.

Additionally, OASAM/OFO has established a Fax number for the public to use which links directly to a mailbox that is monitored by the FOIA coordinators for OFO.OASAM/OFO public FOIA fax number is (972)850-4440 and the mailbox is: eFAX-OASAM-OFO-FOIARequests. 

WHD uses its public website to remove barriers to accessing government information by posting Agency Opinion Letters, allowing workers to search the Workers Owed Wages site to determine if they are owed any back wages, and posting general enforcement information on the Enforcement Database website.  The agency has developed several template letters for FOIA..    WHD has assured that the new templates and letters were 508 compliant through testing and evaluation.


4. For Fiscal Year 2023, what was the average number of days your agency reported for adjudicating requests for expedited processing? Please see Section VIII.A. of your agency's Fiscal Year 2023 Annual FOIA Report.

FY 2023 - Requests for Expedited Processing

 Average Number of Days to Adjudicate



5. If your agency's average number of days to adjudicate requests for expedited processing was above ten calendar days, according to Section VIII.A. of your agency's Fiscal Year 2023 Annual FOIA Report, please describe the steps your agency will take to ensure that requests for expedited processing are adjudicated within ten calendar days or less.

The agency has taken the opportunity to highlight the importance of adjudicating timely requests for expediting processing by conducting a FOIA Overview training session at the DOL Virtual FOIA Training Conference that was held in June 2023.  Also, during Quarterly FOIA Coordinators meetings conducted by the Office of Information Services, agency FOIA staff was briefed on various internal FOIA processing measures and metrics that included timeliness with respect to expedited processing.

6. Does your agency utilize a separate track for simple requests? Yes

7. If your agency uses a separate track for simple requests, according to Annual FOIA Report section VII.A, was the agency overall average number of days to process simple requests twenty working days or fewer in Fiscal Year 2023? No

8. If not, did the simple track average processing time decrease compared to the previous Fiscal Year? Yes. The average processing time decreased from an average of 49.16 in FY22 to 24.51 in FY23.

9. Please provide the percentage of requests processed by your agency in Fiscal Year 2023 that were placed in your simple track. Please use the following calculation based on the data from your Annual FOIA Report: (processed simple requests from Section VII.C.1) divided by (requests processed from Section V.A.) x 100.

Simple Requests – FY 2023


Number of Simple Requests Processed

Average Number of Days

Total Number of Requests Processed

Percentage of Total Requests







10. If your agency does not track simple requests separately, was the average number of days to process all non-expedited requests twenty working days or fewer? N/A

C. Backlogs


11. If your agency had a backlog of requests at the close of Fiscal Year 2023, according to Annual FOIA Report Section XII.D.2, did that backlog decrease as compared with the backlog reported at the end of Fiscal Year 2022? No

Fiscal Year

Number of Backlogged FOIA Requests






12. If not, according to Annual FOIA Report Section XII.D.1, did your agency process more requests during Fiscal Year 2023 than it did during Fiscal Year 2022?  No

13. If your agency's request backlog increased during Fiscal Year 2023, please explain why and describe the causes that contributed to your agency not being able to reduce its backlog. When doing so, please also indicate if any of the following were contributing factors:

  • An increase in the number of incoming requests
  • A loss of staff
  • An increase in the complexity of the requests received (if possible, please provide examples or briefly describe the types of complex requests contributing to your backlog increase)
  • Litigation
  • Any other reasons – please briefly describe or provide examples when possible

At the end of FY 2023, the Department's total number of backlogged initial FOIA requests increased by 162 requests, in comparison to the total volume of over 14,000 received and processed requests (14,279 and 14,219 respectively). In FY2023, many DOL agency components reported an increase in the number of FOIA requests seeking access to voluminous amounts of electronic data, including emails. Even searches for FOIA requests that appeared on their face to be simple in nature required agencies to negotiate over search terms and leverage e-discovery tools to search for responsive records among emails and other electronic records platforms. Additionally, electronic searches produced records that required deduplication, the identification and coordination of reviews for sensitive equities and other unique processing issues that extended processing time frames. All of these factors impacted the Department's ability to timely respond to some requests and limited additional resources that could have been used solely for the purposes of targeting the Department's oldest pending requests. In addition, there were a small number of requests with litigation equities that could not be closed because litigation was ongoing.

14. If you had a request backlog, please report the percentage of requests that make up the backlog out of the total number of requests received by your agency in Fiscal Year 2023. Please use the following calculation based on data from your Annual FOIA Report: (backlogged requests from Section XII.A) divided by (requests received from Section V.A) x 100. This number can be greater than 100%. If your agency has no request backlog, please answer with "N/A."

2023 Backlog Percentage Chart


Total Number of Requests Received FY2023

Total Number of Backlog at End of FY 2023

Percentage of Total Requests







15. If your agency had a backlog of appeals at the close of Fiscal Year 2023, according to Section XII.E.2 of the Annual FOIA Report, did that backlog decrease as compared with the backlog reported at the end of Fiscal Year 2022? No.  The backlog remained the same for both years.

16. If not, according to section XII.E.1 of the Annual FOIA Report, did your agency process more appeals during Fiscal Year 2023 than it did during Fiscal Year 2022? Yes

17. If your agency's appeal backlog increased during Fiscal Year 2023, please explain why and describe the causes that contributed to your agency not being able to reduce its backlog. When doing so, please also indicate if any of the following were contributing factors:

  • An increase in the number of incoming appeals
  • A loss of staff
  • An increase in the complexity of the requests received (if possible, please provide examples or briefly describe the types of complex requests contributing to your backlog increase)
  • Litigation
  • Any other reasons – please briefly describe or provide examples when possible

18. If you had an appeal backlog, please report the percentage of appeals that make up the backlog out of the total number of appeals received by your agency in Fiscal Year 2023. Please use the following calculation based on data from your Annual FOIA Report: (backlogged appeals from Section XII.A) divided by (appeals received from Section VI.A) x 100. This number can be greater than 100%. If your agency did not receive any appeals in Fiscal Year 2023 and/or has no appeal backlog, please answer with "N/A."

Backlogged Appeals

Fiscal Year

Number of Backlogged Appeals at End of FY

Number of Appeals Received

Percentage of Appeals Received










D. Backlog Reduction Plans

19. In the 2023 guidelines for Chief FOIA Officer Reports, any agency with a backlog of over 1000 requests in Fiscal Year 2022 was asked to provide a plan for achieving backlog reduction in the year ahead. Did your agency implement a backlog reduction plan last year? If so, describe your agency's efforts in implementing this plan and note if your agency was able to achieve backlog reduction in Fiscal Year 2023?

Yes.  The U.S. Department of Labor implemented a backlog reduction plan last year.  However, the agency was not able to achieve a reduction in the overall backlog.

20. If your agency had a backlog of more than 1,000 requests in Fiscal Year 2023, please explain your agency's plan to reduce this backlog during Fiscal Year 2024.

DOL's Target Backlog Reduction Goals

  • TARGET 1:  Eliminate all backlogged FOIA requests received by the Department during calendar years 2017 – 2018 by 100% by December 31, 2024.
  • TARGET 2:  Take proactive steps to encourage the reduction of the number of backlogged FOIA requests by the Department during calendar years 2019 and 2020 by 100% by September 30, 2025.
  • TARGET 3:  Consistent with the Department's standing FOIA Modernization Initiatives, take proactive steps to encourage the reduction by September 30, 2025, of the number of remaining backlogged FOIA requests received by the Department during calendar year 2021 by 50% and by 25% for FOIA requests received during calendar year 2022.
  • TARGET 4:  Take proactive steps to encourage the reduction of the overall backlog of FOIA requests by 20% on or before September 30, 2025, in compliance with the Department's backlog reduction goal established in the DOL Financial and Administrative Management Scorecard.

E. Reducing the Age of Requests, Appeals, and Consultations


21. In Fiscal Year 2023, did your agency close the ten oldest pending perfected requests that were reported in Section VII.E. of your Fiscal Year 2022 Annual FOIA Report?  No

FY 2022 Ten Oldest FOIA Requests   FY 2023 Ten Oldest FOIA Requests
10th Old


10th Oldest


9th Oldest


 9th Oldest


8th Oldest


8th Oldest


7th Oldest


7th Oldest


6th Oldest


6th Oldest


5th Oldest


5th Oldest


4th Oldest


4th Oldest


3rd Oldest


3rd Oldest


2nd Oldest


2nd Oldest


Oldest Request


Oldest Request



Note:  As demonstrated in yellow shading within the above table, the Department closed seven of the ten oldest FOIA initial requests that were reported within the FY 2022 FOIA Annual Report.

22. If no, please provide the number of these requests your agency was able to close by the end of the fiscal year, as listed in Section VII.E of your Fiscal Year 2022 Annual FOIA Report. If you had less than ten total oldest requests to close, please indicate that. (Please see note above)

23. Beyond work on the ten oldest requests, please describe any steps your agency took to reduce the overall age of your pending requests.

Please see the answer provided under Section D. Backlog Reduction Plans.


24. In Fiscal Year 2023, did your agency close the ten oldest appeals that were reported pending in Section VI.C.5 of your Fiscal Year 2021 Annual FOIA Report?  Yes

FY 2022 Ten Oldest FOIA Appeals FY 2023 Ten Oldest FOIA Appeals
10th Old


10th Oldest


9th Oldest


 9th Oldest


8th Oldest


8th Oldest


7th Oldest


7th Oldest


6th Oldest


6th Oldest


5th Oldest


5th Oldest


4th Oldest


4th Oldest


3rd Oldest


3rd Oldest


2nd Oldest


2nd Oldest


Oldest Request


Oldest Request



25. If no, please provide the number of these appeals your agency was able to close by the end of the fiscal year, as listed in Section VII.C.(5) of your Fiscal Year 2022 Annual FOIA Report. If you had less than ten total oldest appeals to close, please indicate that. N/A

26. Beyond work on the ten oldest appeals, please describe any steps your agency took to reduce the overall age of your pending appeals.

The FOIA Appeals Unit in the Office of the Solicitor prioritizes closing the top ten oldest appeals every year.  A list of the top ten oldest appeals is created at the beginning of the fiscal year.  All ten cases are assigned at that time and their progress is monitored by the Counsel for FOIA Appeals throughout the fiscal year. The FOIA Appeals counsel regularly invites detailees into the FOIA Appeals Unit to handle simple track cases so the experienced permanent attorney staff can turn their attention to the oldest most complex appeals. Additionally, the FOIA Appeals Unit is in regular contact with requesters who have older pending appeals to determine their continued interest.


27. In Fiscal Year 2023, did your agency close the ten oldest consultations that were reported pending in Section XII.C. of your Fiscal Year 2022 Annual FOIA Report?  No

FY 2022 Ten Oldest FOIA Consultations  FY 2023 Ten Oldest FOIA Consultations
10th Old


10th Oldest


9th Oldest


9th Oldest


8th Oldest


8th Oldest


7th Oldest


7th Oldest


6th Oldest


6th Oldest


5th Oldest


5th Oldest


4th Oldest


4th Oldest


3rd Oldest


3rd Oldest


2nd Oldest


2nd Oldest


Oldest Request


Oldest Request



Note: As demonstrated in yellow shading within the above table, the Department closed five of the seven FOIA Consultations that were reported within the FY 2022 FOIA Annual Report.

28. If no, please provide the number of these consultations your agency was able to close by the end of the fiscal year, as listed in Section XII.C. of your Fiscal Year 2022 Annual FOIA Report. If you had less than ten total oldest consultations to close, please indicate that.   (Please see note above)


29. If your agency did not close its ten oldest pending requests, appeals, or consultations, please explain why and provide a plan describing how your agency intends to close those "ten oldest" requests, appeals, and consultations during Fiscal Year 2024.

The Department was successful in closing all ten of its oldest reported FOIA Appeals.  There were only seven pending FOIA Consultations pending at the end of FY 2022 and the DOL closed five prior to the end of FY23.

Eight of the ten oldest pending FOIA initial requests were closed during FY 2023.  The 80 percent success rate of this backlog reduction goal has been identified as a Departmental priority for FY 2024.  Therefore, the Department's Office of Information Services has planned to conduct FOIA agency reviews during FY 2024.  This endeavor will enable the Department to identify administrative deficiencies, as well as to discuss best practices and next steps with FOIA Service Center staff regarding the achievement of DOL backlog reduction goals and FOIA efficiency.

F. Additional Information about FOIA Processing

30. Were any requests at your agency the subject of FOIA litigation during the reporting period? If so, please describe the impact on your agency's overall FOIA request processing and backlog. If possible, please indicate the following:  Yes

  • The number and nature of requests subject to litigation

At the beginning of FY 2023, DOL had 13 open FOIA cases.  During FY 2023, an additional 17 FOIA cases were filed, and 15 cases were closed.

  • Common causes leading to litigation

Most of the cases were brought based upon issues surrounding timeliness with respect to FOIA initial request or FOIA appeals processing.

  • Any other information to illustrate the impact of litigation on your overall FOIA administration.

Two of MSHA's FOIA requests related to mine incidents have been the subject of FOIA litigation during the reporting period because of a delay in processing the requests. FOIA requests that involve legal challenges or disputes may take longer to resolve, causing delays in the processing of other requests and adding to the backlog. When this occurs, MSHA reallocates personnel resources to respond to current and anticipated FOIA demands.