§ 70.19 Requirements for making a request.  


Latest version.
  • (a) General information. The Department of Labor has a decentralized system for responding to requests submitted under the FOIA, as explained in §70.1 of this part. In addition to processing requests for its own records, each agency component has the ability to receive FOIA requests in writing by mail, delivery service/courier or facsimile at its designated mailing address. However, to enable proper handling, any FOIA request submitted electronically, by email, must be submitted to the Department's central FOIA mailbox at foiarequests@dol.gov. FOIA requests sent electronically to any other email address will not be accepted. A FOIA request submitted via email should designate the component or components to which the requester is submitting his/her request. The Department's central FOIA mailbox is regularly monitored, and requests will be assigned to the appropriate DOL FOIA component.

    (b) Request for records. To make a request for records of the Department, whenever possible, a requester should write directly to the FOIA office of the component that maintains the records sought or, if emailing a request to the DOL central FOIA mailbox, should identify the component(s) to which the request is directed. Submitting the request directly to the FOIA office of the component that maintains the records sought, or identifying that component when sending a FOIA request via email, will facilitate the quickest response. The requester must provide a mailing address to receive correspondence, and it may facilitate processing if telephone and email contact information are provided.

    (1) The Department's components for the purposes of the FOIA are listed in Appendix A to this part. The function and mailing address of each Department of Labor component is available on the Department's FOIA Web site at http://www.dol.gov/dol.foia. This page also provides other information that is helpful in determining where to make a request.

    (2) Requesters who cannot determine the proper FOIA office component or who are requesting records from multiple components may also send requests to the Office of the Solicitor, Office of Information Services, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-2420, Washington, DC 20210 or by email to foiarequests@dol.gov.

    (3) Pursuant to §70.25(a), if a requester submits a FOIA request to the incorrect DOL FOIA component, or sends a request to the Department's central FOIA office or mailbox without identifying the component(s) to which the request is submitted, the time to respond begins to run when the request is received by the proper component, but no later than 10 working days after receipt in any component identified in Appendix A or in the Office of Information Services.

    (c) Description of records sought. Requesters must describe the record or records sought in sufficient detail to enable Department personnel to locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. To the extent possible, the request should provide enough identifying information to help the component identify the requested records, such as the subject of the record, the date or approximate date when the record was created, the record's title or name, case or file number, reference number, the person or office or the office location that created it, and any other pertinent identifying details. Prior to submitting the request, a requester may wish to consult the references provided in §70.1 of this part, the relevant FOIA Requester Service Center or the FOIA Public Liaison to discuss the records they are seeking and to receive assistance on how to describe the records.

    (d) Deficient descriptions and revised requests. If the description is insufficient, so that a knowledgeable employee who is familiar with the subject area of the request cannot identify the record with a reasonable amount of effort, the component processing the request will notify the requester and describe what additional information is needed to process the request.

    (1) Requesters who are attempting to modify or reformulate their requests may discuss their requests with the component's designated FOIA contact, the FOIA Public Liaison, or a representative of OIS, each of whom is available to assist the requester in reasonably describing the records sought. Every reasonable effort will be made to assist a requester in the identification and location of the records sought. If the requester fails to reasonably describe the records sought, the agency's response to the request may be delayed.

    (2) Any amended request must be confirmed in writing and meet the requirements for a request under this part.

    (3) While an agency component awaits a requester's modified FOIA request, the processing time limits described in §70.25(a)(1) will be tolled (that is, the processing time clock will be stopped on one occasion only) until clarification is received from the requester.