Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
What is the Freedom of Information Act?
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was enacted on July 4, 1966 and provides any person the right, which is enforceable in court, to obtain access to federal agency records currently in existence. The FOIA will disclose all releasable information, excluding any information exempt from release pursuant to one or more of the nine FOIA exemptions and any statutes pertaining to specific programs. Congress also passed the Open Government Act of 2007, addressing procedure issues pertaining to the administration of FOIA.
The FOIA sets standards for determining which records must be made available for public inspection and which records can be withheld from disclosure. The law also provides administrative and judicial remedies for those denied access to records. Above all, the statute requires federal agencies to provide the fullest possible disclosure of information to the public.
The following links provide additional information on the FOIA:
- USDA FOIA Regulations
- FOIA Reference Guide
- Where and How to submit a FOIA request
- Sample FOIA Request Letter
- How to submit a FOIA Appeal
- FOIA Exemptions
- Fee Schedule
- Fee Waiver Factors
Some OASCCR records are confidential, and will not be released. For example, EEO records WILL NOT RELEASE:
- Employment discrimination charge file records before OASCR completes its investigation;
- Investigative employment discrimination charge file records to a third party (someone who is not part of the case), including the press. (Other rules regarding charge file requests are stated below.)
- An employer's EEO report, unless you have filed suit on a charge of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, or religion against the employer (a Title VII charge).
- Personal information that would be expected to invade someone's personal privacy (such as someone else's Social Security number).
- Records that reflect OASCR internal decision-making. For example, we will not release information that reveals how OASCR decides whether to litigate a charge, or early drafts of guidance or other policy documents.
To find out more about what can be withheld under the FOIA, see Frequently Asked Questions
To view FOIA records in person, please make arrangements by calling (202) 720-5212.
FOIA Requester Service Center and FOIA Public Liaison
FOIA Requester Service Center
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR) FOIA Requester Service Center was established in compliance with Executive Order 13392 - Improving Agency Disclosure of Information. The FOIA Requester Service Center is the initial point of contact for FOIA requesters to obtain information concerning the status of their request, and information about the agency's FOIA response. For more information contact:
FOIA Requester Service Center
Telephone number: (202) 720-5212
Fax: (202) 690-7442
FOIA Public Liaison
Requesters who have concerns about the service they are receiving from the OASCR FOIA Requester Service Center may raise their concerns with our FOIA Public Liaison:
Director, Center for Civil Rights Enforcement
Fax: (202) 720-0953