Freedom of Information Act

  • 4 topics | 18m
  • Up to 30 languages
  • Transcripts
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) encourages accountability through transparency – considered to be vital to the health and success of a democracy. In the United States, each federal agency is responsible for processing FOIA requests for the records it holds and for disclosing records unless they are subject to an exemption. Employees of federal agencies need to be prepared to handle FOIA requests. This course provides an overview of the FOIA and how to meet obligations for processing FOIA requests, while also encouraging employees to become familiar with the particular guidelines and resources held by their agency's FOIA Office. This course was developed with subject matter support provided by the Labor, Employment, and Employee Benefits Law Group of the law firm of Sheehan Phinney Bass & Green PA. Please note, however, that the course materials and content are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Nothing herein, or in the course materials, shall be construed as professional advice as to any particular situation or constitute a legal opinion with respect to compliance with any federal, state, or local laws. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. The information contained herein is provided only as general information that may or may not reflect the most current legal developments. This information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to constitute legal advice or to substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.


  • recognize the FOIA obligations for disclosing information held by federal agencies
  • identify what is required under the FOIA when making records available
  • recognize what's involved in processing a FOIA request under the FOIA
  • recognize your responsibilities to comply with the Freedom of Information Act


  • Introducing the FOIA
  • Requirements for a FOIA Request
  • Processing FOIA Requests
  • Knowledge Check: FOIA Obligations