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Farm Labor Organizing Committee v. U.S. Department of Labor

On June 7, 2018, Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for records related to the agency’s investigations of agricultural employers who grow and sell tobacco. DOL denied the request in full, claiming that the responsive records are confidential and exempt from disclosure. FLOC submitted an administrative appeal, but DOL did not respond.

We filed suit for FLOC in March 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging DOL’s refusal to produce the requested records. After we filed suit, DOL changed its position and produced 1,200 pages of responsive records. We are challenging DOL’s redactions under Exemption 4 of information identifying the purchasers of tobacco grown by employers found to have violated employment laws.

The parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment regarding DOL’s withholding of information under Exemption 4.