29 CFR 1401.34 - Time for processing requests.
(a) All time limitations established pursuant to this section shall begin as of the time a request for records is received by the Office of the General Counsel.
(b) The officer or employee responsible for responding to the request shall, within twenty (20) working days following receipt of the request, respond in writing to the requester, determining whether, or the extent to which, the Agency shall comply with the request.
(1) If all of the records requested have been located and a final determination has been made with respect to disclosure of all the records requested, the response shall so state.
(2) If all of the records have not been located or a final determination has not been made with respect to disclosure of all records requested, the response shall state the extent to which the records involved will be disclosed pursuant to the rules established in this part.
(c) Where the time limits for processing a request cannot be met because of unusual circumstances and FMCS determines to extend the time limit on that basis, FMCS will, as soon as practicable, notify the requester in writing of the unusual circumstances and the date by which the processing can be expected to be completed. Where the extension is for more than 10 working days, FMCS will provide the requester with an opportunity either to modify the request so that it may be processed within the time limits or to arrange an alternative time period for processing the request or a modified request. If FMCS reasonably believes that multiple requests submitted by a requester, or by a group of requesters acting in concert, constitute a single request that would otherwise involve unusual circumstances, and the requests involve clearly related matters, they may be aggregated.
(d) If any request for records is denied in whole or in part, the response required by paragraph (b) of this section shall notify the requester of the denial. Such denial shall specify the reason and also advise that the denial may be appealed to the Office of the FMCS Deputy Director as specified in § 1401.35. In addition, such denial shall include an estimate of the volume of records or information withheld, in numbers of pages or in some other reasonable form of estimation. This estimate does not need to be provided if the volume is otherwise indicated through deletions on records disclosed in part, or if providing an estimate would harm an interest protected by an applicable estimation.
(e) FMCS offices may use two or more processing tracks by distinguishing between simple and more complex requests based on the amount of work and or time needed to process the request. A person making a request that does not qualify for the fastest multitrack processing should be given an opportunity to limit the scope of the request in order to qualify for faster processing.
(f) Requests and appeals will be taken out of order and given expedited processing in cases where the requester demonstrates a compelling need.
(1) Compelling need means:
(i) Circumstances in which failure to obtain copies of the requested records on an expedited basis could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; or
(ii) An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged Federal Government activity, if the request is made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information.
(2) A requester seeking expedited processing should so indicate in the initial request, and should state all the facts supporting the need to obtain the requested records quickly. The requester must also certify in writing that these facts are true and correct to the best of the requester's knowledge and belief.
(3) Within 10 calendar days of its receipt of a request for expedited processing, FMCS will notify the requester of its decision. If a request for expedited treatment is granted, the request shall be given priority and shall be processed as soon as practicable. If a request for expedited processing is denied, any appeal of that decision will be acted on expeditiously.