Dole v. United Steelworkers of America, No. 88-1434

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBRENNAN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, STEVENS, O'CONNOR, SCALIA, and KENNEDY, JJ., joined. WHITE, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which REHNQUIST
Citation108 L.Ed.2d 23,494 U.S. 26,110 S.Ct. 929
Decision Date21 February 1990
Docket NumberNo. 88-1434
PartiesElizabeth DOLE, Secretary of Labor, et al., Petitioners, v. UNITED STEELWORKERS OF AMERICA et al

494 U.S. 26
110 S.Ct. 929
108 L.Ed.2d 23
Elizabeth DOLE, Secretary of Labor, et al., Petitioners,

v.

UNITED STEELWORKERS OF AMERICA et al.

No. 88-1434.
Argued Nov. 6, 1989.
Decided Feb. 21, 1990.
Syllabus

Pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the Department of Labor (DOL) promulgated a hazard communication standard, which imposed disclosure requirements on manufacturers aimed at ensuring that their employees were informed of the potential hazards posed by chemicals in the workplace. Among other things, the standard required the manufacturers to label hazardous chemical containers, conduct training on the chemicals' dangers, and make available to employees safety data sheets on the chemicals. Respondents and others challenged the standard in the Court of Appeals. The court held that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had not adequately explained why the standard was limited to the manufacturing sector and twice directed OSHA either to apply it to workplaces in other sectors of the economy or to state why such application would be infeasible. Ultimately, DOL issued a revised standard that applied to worksites in all sectors and submitted it to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (Act). That Act sets forth a comprehensive scheme to reduce the federal paperwork burden on the public by requiring, inter alia, an agency to submit any instrument for the "collection of information"—termed an "information collection request"—to the OMB for approval before it may collect the information. OMB disapproved three of the standard's provisions on the ground that their requirements were not necessary to protect employees, and DOL published notice withdrawing the provisions. Respondents sought further relief from the Court of Appeals, which ordered DOL to reinstate the disapproved provisions. The court reasoned that the provisions represented good-faith compliance by DOL with the court's prior orders, that OMB lacked the authority under the Act to disapprove the provisions, and that, therefore, DOL had no legitimate basis for withdrawing them.

Held: The Act does not authorize OMB to review and countermand agency regulations mandating disclosure by regulated entities directly to third parties. Pp. 32-43.

(a) The Act's language indicates that the terms "information collection request" and "collection of information"—which is defined as "the obtain-

Page 27

ing or soliciting of facts by an agency through . . . reporting or recordkeeping requirements"—refer solely to the collection of information by, or for the use of, a federal agency, rather than to disclosure rules, which do not result in information being made available for agency use. Petitioners' interpretation of the above definition—that an agency is "soliciting facts" when it requires someone to communicate specified data to a third party and that rules requiring labeling, employee training, and the keeping of accessible data sheets are "reporting and recordkeeping requirements"—is precluded by the language, purpose, and structure of the Act as a whole. Pp. 34-35.

(b) Under the traditional canon of construction requiring that words grouped in a list be given a related meaning, the phrase "reporting and recordkeeping requirements" would comprise only rules requiring information to be sent or made available to a federal agency, not disclosure rules, since the other examples listed are forms for communicating information to a party requesting that information. P. 36.

(c) Moreover, disclosure rules present none of the problems Congress sought to solve, and none of the enumerated purposes would be served by subjecting such rules to the Act's provisions. Pp. 36-38.

(d) That Congress did not intend the Act to encompass disclosure rules is further revealed by the language and import of other provisions. The internal preliminary steps that an agency must take before adopting an information collection request affect agencies only when they gather information for their own use and do not relate to disclosure rules. Likewise, the provisions governing OMB's review of proposed agency information collection requests focus on an agency's ability to use the information, particularly its ability to process it. The Act does not authorize OMB to determine the usefulness of agency-adopted warning requirements to those being warned. Furthermore, the Act's enforcement mechanism by its terms does not apply to disclosure rules, and its clear legislative history shows that Congress intended the provision to apply to all collections of information subject to the Act. Pp. 40-41.

(e) The Act's legislative history does not support petitioners' contention that Congress intended "collection of information" to include disclosure rules. This Court need not defer to OMB's contrary interpretation where Congress' intent is clear. Pp. 40-41.

855 F.2d 108 (CA 3 1988), affirmed.

BRENNAN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, STEVENS, O'CONNOR, SCALIA, and KENNEDY, JJ., joined. WHITE, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which REHNQUIST, C.J., joined, post, p. 43.

Page 28

Jeffrey P. Minear, Washington, D.C., for petitioners.

Laurence Gold, Washington, D.C., for respondents.

Justice BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

Among the regulatory tools available to Government agencies charged with protecting public health and safety are rules which require regulated entities to disclose information directly to employees, consumers, or others. Disclosure rules protect by providing access to information about what dangers exist and how these dangers can be avoided. Today we decide whether the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has the authority under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, 44 U.S.C. § 3501 et seq. (1982 ed. and Supp. V), to review such regulations.

I

In 1983, pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), 84 Stat. 1590, 29 U.S.C. § 651 et seq. (1982 ed.), which authorizes the Department of Labor (DOL) to set health and safety standards for workplaces, DOL

Page 29

promulgated a hazard communication standard. 29 CFR § 1910.1200 (1984). The standard imposed various requirements on manufacturers aimed at ensuring that their employees were informed of the potential hazards posed by chemicals found at their workplace. Specifically, the standard required chemical manufacturers to label containers of hazardous chemicals with appropriate warnings. "Downstream" manufacturers—commercial purchasers who used the chemicals in their manufacturing plants were obliged to keep the original labels intact or else transfer the information onto any substitute containers. The standard also required chemical manufacturers to provide "material safety data sheets" to downstream manufacturers. The data sheets were to list the physical characteristics and hazards of each chemical, the symptoms caused by overexposure and any pre-existing medical conditions aggravated by exposure. In addition, the data sheets were to recommend safety precautions and first aid and emergency procedures in case of overexposure, and provide a source for additional information. Both chemical manufacturers and downstream manufacturers were required to make the data sheets available to their employees and to provide training on the dangers of the particular hazardous chemicals found at each workplace.

Respondent United Steelworkers of America, among others, challenged the standard in the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. That court held that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had not adequately explained why the regulation was limited to the manufacturing sector, in view of the OSH Act's clear directive that, to the extent feasible, OSHA is to ensure that no employee suffers material impairment of health from toxic or other harmful agents. The court directed OSHA either to apply the hazard standard rules to workplaces in other sectors or to state reasons why such application would not be feasible. United

Page 30

Steelworkers of America v. Auchter, 763 F.2d 728, 739 (1985).

When DOL responded by initiating an entirely new rulemaking proceeding, the union and its copetitioners sought enforcement of the earlier order. The Third Circuit directed DOL, under threat of contempt, to publish in the Federal Register within 60 days either a hazard communication standard applicable to all workers covered by the OSH Act or a statement of reasons why such a standard was not feasible, on the basis of the existing record, as to each category of excluded workers. United Steelworkers of America v. Pendergrass, 819 F.2d 1263, 1270 (1987).

DOL complied by issuing a revised hazard communication standard that applied to work sites in all sectors of the economy. See 52 Fed.Reg. 31852 (1987). At the same time, DOL submitted the standard to OMB for review of any paperwork requirements. After holding a public hearing, OMB approved all but three of its provisions. OMB rejected a requirement that employees who work at multiemployer sites (such as construction sites) be provided with data sheets describing the hazardous substances to which they were likely to be exposed, through the activities of any of the companies working at the same site. The provision permitted employers either to exchange data sheets and make them available at their home offices or to maintain all relevant data sheets at a central location on the work site. 29 CFR § 1910.1200(e)(2) (1988). OMB also disapproved a provision exempting consumer products used in the workplace in the same manner, and resulting in the same frequency and duration of exposure, as in normal consumer use. § 1910.1200(b)(6)(vii). Finally, OMB vetoed an exemption for drugs sold in solid, final form for direct administration to patients. § 1910.1200(b)(6)(viii). See 52 Fed.Reg. 46076 (1987).

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253 practice notes
  • Agence France Presse v. Morel, No. 10 Civ. 02730 (AJN).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • May 21, 2013
    ...that an entity that is directly licensing copyrighted material online is not a “service provider.” See Dole v. United Steelworkers of Am., 494 U.S. 26, 35, 110 S.Ct. 929, 108 L.Ed.2d 23 (1990) (in interpreting statutes, courts should look to the whole law, and its object and policy). The fo......
  • Blackwater v. Salazar, No. 11–5128.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • August 17, 2012
    ...(citing Strickland v. Morton, 519 F.2d 467, 469 (9th Cir.1975))). Viewing the ESA as a whole, see Dole v. United Steelworkers of Am., 494 U.S. 26, 42–43, 110 S.Ct. 929, 108 L.Ed.2d 23 (1990),—and consistent with “one of the most basic interpretative canons, that ‘[a] statute should be const......
  • Freedom Found. v. Wash. State Dep't of Transp., No. 41198–9–II.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • May 10, 2012
    ...of its provisions, its object, and its policy—not just at the particular language in isolation. Dole v. United Steelworkers of Am., 494 U.S. 26, 35, 110 S.Ct. 929, 108 L.Ed.2d 23 (1990). If, on the other hand, ‘the statute is silent or ambiguous with respect to the specific issue, the quest......
  • Air Transport Ass'n of America v. Department of Transp., No. 89-1195
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • April 27, 1990
    ...of construction "that 'words grouped in a list should be given related meaning.' " Dole v. United Steelworkers, --- U.S. ----, 110 S.Ct. 929, 935, 108 L.Ed.2d 23 (1990) (quoting Massachusetts v. Morash, --- U.S. ----, 109 S.Ct. 1668, 1673, 104 L.Ed.2d 98 (1989)). In sum, the FAA's......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
251 cases
  • Agence France Presse v. Morel, No. 10 Civ. 02730 (AJN).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • May 21, 2013
    ...that an entity that is directly licensing copyrighted material online is not a “service provider.” See Dole v. United Steelworkers of Am., 494 U.S. 26, 35, 110 S.Ct. 929, 108 L.Ed.2d 23 (1990) (in interpreting statutes, courts should look to the whole law, and its object and policy). The fo......
  • Blackwater v. Salazar, No. 11–5128.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • August 17, 2012
    ...(citing Strickland v. Morton, 519 F.2d 467, 469 (9th Cir.1975))). Viewing the ESA as a whole, see Dole v. United Steelworkers of Am., 494 U.S. 26, 42–43, 110 S.Ct. 929, 108 L.Ed.2d 23 (1990),—and consistent with “one of the most basic interpretative canons, that ‘[a] statute should be const......
  • Freedom Found. v. Wash. State Dep't of Transp., No. 41198–9–II.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • May 10, 2012
    ...of its provisions, its object, and its policy—not just at the particular language in isolation. Dole v. United Steelworkers of Am., 494 U.S. 26, 35, 110 S.Ct. 929, 108 L.Ed.2d 23 (1990). If, on the other hand, ‘the statute is silent or ambiguous with respect to the specific issue, the quest......
  • Air Transport Ass'n of America v. Department of Transp., No. 89-1195
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • April 27, 1990
    ...of construction "that 'words grouped in a list should be given related meaning.' " Dole v. United Steelworkers, --- U.S. ----, 110 S.Ct. 929, 935, 108 L.Ed.2d 23 (1990) (quoting Massachusetts v. Morash, --- U.S. ----, 109 S.Ct. 1668, 1673, 104 L.Ed.2d 98 (1989)). In sum, the FAA's......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 provisions

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