In general. Except as stated in paragraph (b) of this section, the disclosure officer who receives a request for a record and has possession of that record is the disclosure officer responsible for responding to the request. When it is determined that records responsive to a request may be located in multiple components of the Department, the Office of the Solicitor, Division of Management and Administrative Legal Services, will provide any necessary coordination of the Department's response. If the Office of the Solicitor deems a consolidated response appropriate, it will issue such a response on behalf of the Department.
Consultations and referrals. When a disclosure officer receives a request for a record, the disclosure officer will determine whether another disclosure officer of the component, 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 disclosure officer determines that he or she is not best able to process the record, then the receiving disclosure officer will either:
Respond to the request after consulting with the component or agency best able to determine whether to disclose it and with any other component or agency that has a substantial interest in it; or
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.
Notice of referral. Whenever a disclosure officer refers all or any part of the responsibility for responding to a request to another component or agency, the disclosure officer 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.
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 (b) and (c) of this section.
[71 FR 30765, May 30, 2006]