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Public Citizen v. U.S. Department of Labor (Coordinated Enforcement FOIA)

On December 6, 2023, Public Citizen submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) seeking records related to DOL’s compliance with its coordinated enforcement regulation, 29 C.F.R. § 42.20. The regulation is intended to improve DOL’s enforcement of farmworker protective statutes by requiring that DOL establish Regional Farm Labor Coordinated Enforcement Committees that annually develop written coordinated enforcement plans, maintain contact with farm labor groups to exchange information and coordinate activities, and hold annual public meetings. Public Citizen requested copies of the most recent announcement of an annual public meeting and the most recent migrant farm labor enforcement strategy for each region. Public Citizen requested that DOL waive any fees associated with responding to the FOIA request because disclosure of the information is in the public interest. On March 8, 2024, DOL responded by denying Public Citizen’s request for a fee waiver. We appealed the denial, but DOL did not respond by the statutory deadline. The deadline for DOL to produce the requested records has also passed. We filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to compel DOL to grant Public Citizen’s request for a public-interest fee waiver and to produce the requested records.