On November 15, 2022, an investigative reporter and a nonprofit news organization sued the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The investigative reporter previously submitted multiple FOIA requests for federal contractors’ and first-tier subcontractors’ Type 2 Consolidated EEO-1 Report data to the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). On August 19, 2022, OFCCP published a notice of a FOIA request covering contractors’ 2016–2020 Type 2 EEO-1 Reports in the Federal Register. Contractors had until October 19, 2022, to object to the disclosure of their data.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that the DOL has violated FOIA, including by failing to notify the plaintiffs of a determination and by failing to disclose the requested records. The plaintiffs seek injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as costs and fees and other appropriate relief. The complaint’s exhibits contain correspondence between the plaintiffs and the DOL regarding the plaintiffs’ FOIA requests. In one exhibit, OFCCP confirmed the expectation that it “intends to release to [the plaintiffs] the names of those federal contractors that objected under an applicable FOIA exemption and whose data was removed from public release.”
Ogletree Deakins’ Affirmative Action and OFCCP Compliance Practice Group will continue to monitor developments in this litigation and will post updates on the firm’s Affirmative Action / OFCCP and Government Contractors blogs as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.