§ 70.20 Responsibility for responding to requests.  


Latest version.
  • (a) In general. Except in the instances stated in paragraph (d) of this section, the component that first receives a request for a record and maintains that record is the component responsible for responding to the request. In determining which records are responsive to a request, a component ordinarily will include only records in its possession as of the date that the component begins the search; if any other date is used, the component will inform the requester of that date. A record that is excluded from the requirements of the FOIA pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(c), is not considered responsive to a request. When it is determined that records responsive to a request may be located in multiple components of the Department, the Office of Information Services may coordinate the Department's response. If the Office of Information Services deems a consolidated response appropriate, it will issue such a response on behalf of the Department.

    (b) Authority to grant or deny requests. Pursuant to relevant exemptions under 5 U.S.C. 552(b) or an exclusion under 5 U.S.C. 552(c), the head of a component, or designee, is authorized to grant or to deny any requests for records that are maintained by that component.

    (c) Re-routing of misdirected requests. Where a component's FOIA office determines that a request was misdirected within the Department, the receiving component's FOIA office will work with OIS to facilitate the routing of the request to the FOIA office of the proper component(s).

    (d) Consultations and referrals. When a component is reviewing records in response to a request, it will determine if another component of the Department, or of the Federal Government, is better able to determine whether the record can be disclosed or is exempt from disclosure under the FOIA. If the receiving component determines that it is not best able to process the record, then the receiving component will either:

    (1) Respond to the request after consulting with the component or agency best able to determine whether to disclose the record and with any other component or agency that has a substantial interest in the record; or

    (2) Refer the responsibility for responding to the request regarding that record to the component best able to determine whether to disclose it, or to another agency that originated the record (but only if that entity is subject to the FOIA). Ordinarily, the component or agency that originated the record will be presumed to be best able to determine whether to disclose it.

    (e) Notice of referral. Whenever a component refers all or any part of the responsibility for responding to a request to another component or agency, the component will notify the requester of the referral and inform the requester of the name of each component or agency to which the request has been referred and provide contact information for that component or agency.

    (f) Classified records. Any request for classified records which are in the custody of the Department of Labor will be referred to the classifying agency under paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section.