In October 2020, the Occupational Safety & Health Law Project (OSH Law Project) submitted to the Department of Labor a Freedom of Information Act request for records defining the compliance obligations of Century Aluminum Company under an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard regulating occupational exposure to beryllium. In response, the Department produced an agreement between Century Aluminum and OSHA containing those compliance obligations, but, citing FOIA exemption 4, it withheld the parts of the document that set forth the steps that OSHA required Century Aluminum to take to abate beryllium exposure at its facilities and bring itself into compliance with OSHA’s standard.
Public Citizen represents the OSH Law Project in a lawsuit seeking disclosure of the withheld information. On August 17, 2022, the Court granted in part and denied in part the government’s summary judgment motion. The Court concluded that DOL had failed to satisfy its burden to show that the information was “confidential” under FOIA exemption 4, but it ordered that DOL be given a second chance, through a second round of motions, to meet its burden. The parties then entered into a settlement agreement, ending the case.