Q. I filed a complaint with the Department of Labor regarding unpaid overtime wages. After an investigation, the agency determined that I was actually due the unpaid overtime but decided not to pursue recovery on my behalf. I asked the DOL for the total amount of wages due, but my contact refused to send me the information and directed me to the FOIA. What does the FOIA have to do with obtaining my own personal records?
A. The FOIA governs access to agency records, including anything created by the DOL during its investigation into your unpaid overtime. While those records are about you, they are not, in fact, your "personal" records, at least not in the sense that you "own" them. Consider visiting the DOL Wage and Hour Division's FOIA website, which has useful information about how to request copies of your investigative file. Pay special attention to Privacy Act requirements, however, as a request for personal information needs a special statement attesting that you are who you claim to be.