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I. Getting Started
This guide will familiarize you with the specific procedures for making a - Privacy Act request to the Department of Labor (Department or DOL) for access to or amendment of records about you that are covered by the Privacy Act. The process is neither complicated nor time-consuming. Following the guide will help you obtain the information you are seeking in the shortest amount of time.
Initially, there are several things you should be aware of before making a request. First, it is important to know that there is no central office in the Department of Labor that processes Privacy Act requests for all DOL components. Rather, Privacy Act processing at the Department of Labor is decentralized. Each component responds to requests for its own records. Therefore, before sending a request to the Department of Labor, you should determine which component is likely to have the records you are seeking. The formal rules for submitting Privacy Act requests to the Department of Labor are published at 29 CFR Part 71 Regulations. Next, you should also be aware that in certain instances the Privacy Act permits an agency to exempt records from its disclosure and amendment provisions. If that is the case, your only right of access to the records on you will be through the Freedom of Information Act. The appropriate Privacy Act System of Records Notice (SORN) will tell you whether the system has been exempted.
II. What Records Are Publicly Available?
All DOL components make their SORNs available on the DOL website located here: https://www.dol.gov/sol/privacy/.
III. Where Should I Send My Privacy Act Request?
Within the Department of Labor, each component processes its own Privacy Act requests. Therefore, your request will receive the quickest possible response if it is addressed directly to the disclosure officer for the component that you believe has the records you are seeking to access or amend. You can find a list of disclosure officers in the Appendix A to Part 71 of the eCFR, including their addresses, online. The Department of Labor's SORNs can help you determine whether DOL maintains any Privacy Act covered records on you.
If you believe the Department of Labor maintains the records you are seeking, but you are uncertain about which DOL component has the records, you may request assistance by writing to the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. Attention: FOIA Privacy Act Request. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management will forward your request to the appropriate agency component.
IV. What Should I Include in My Request?
The Department of Labor does not require a special form in order to make a Privacy Act request. Requests must be in writing and be submitted by fax, courier service or postal mail.
In order to protect your privacy, when you make a written request for access to or amendment of information about yourself, you must provide either a notarized statement or a statement signed under penalty of perjury stating that you are the person you claim to be. You may fulfill this requirement by: (1) having your signature on your request letter witnessed by a notary, or (2) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1746 including the following statement just before the signature on your request letter: "I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on [date]." If you request information about yourself and do not provide one of these statements, your request cannot be processed under the Privacy Act. This requirement helps to ensure that private information about you will not be disclosed to anyone else.
V. How Long Will It Take to Answer My Privacy Act Request?
Under DOL's Privacy Act regulations the component responding to your request for access or amendment will notify you within 30 days of its decision whether to grant or deny you access.
VI. Are There Any Fees?
There is no initial fee to file a Privacy Act request. By filing a request you are agreeing to pay up to $25 unless you specify a higher amount. However, the initial copy of your Privacy Act covered record will be provided to you at no cost.
If fees do need to be charged, you will only be assessed for copying ($0.15/page) after the first 100 pages. You will be notified if the component estimates that the fees will be greater than $25 and given an opportunity to narrow the scope of your request to reduce the amount owed. In addition, if the amount is estimated to exceed $250 the component may request advance payment and the timeline for responding to the request will not begin until the advance payment has been received.
VII. What Can I Expect in Response to My Request?
Once a component has fully processed your request, the component will send you a written response.
If you requested access to records, the response letter will advise you if any information is being withheld in full or in part. The component will also notify you if no records were found or if other procedural issues add to the component's inability to fully comply with your request.
If you requested an amendment to your records you will be advised whether the request has been granted or denied in whole or in part. If your request to amend a record has been granted you will be provided with a copy of the amended record. If your request has been denied, you will be provided with the reason for the denial.
VIII. Can I Appeal the Response?
You may file an administrative appeal with the Solicitor of Labor for any of the following reasons: a) if records responsive to your request are withheld, b) if you believe that there are records responsive to your request in addition to those records produced by the agency, c) if your request has not been processed within 30 days, or d) if your request amendment of a record has been denied. You have ninety (90) days from the date of the denial to file your appeal. Your appeal must be in writing and submitted to:
Solicitor of Labor, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Room N-2420, Washington, D.C. 20210, Attn: Privacy Act Appeal.
There is no specific form or particular language needed to file an administrative appeal. Your appeal should include copies of your initial request and the response from the component agency (unless you are appealing the failure to respond within the time limits). Your letter should explain the reasons for your appeal. For example, if you are appealing because you believe there are additional records that have not been located, you should specify why you think such records exist and, if possible, where you believe they might be located.
IX. What Is Judicial Review?
You may file a lawsuit in Federal Court if the Department of Labor fails to respond to either your initial request or your appeal within the time limits discussed above; or if, after your appeal has been decided, you still believe that the Department of Labor has not handled your Privacy Act request in accordance with the law. You may file your suit in a Federal District Court in any of the following places: (1) where you reside; (2) where you have your principal place of business (if any); (3) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; or (4) where the agency records are maintained. You have two years to file suit in a District Court from the time your right to sue begins.