The Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Litigation, Employment, and Oversight (AGC/LEO) provides legal advice and services to all of the bureaus within the Department with respect to general litigation matters, labor and employment issues, and oversight and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) matters. Ben Friedman is the Assistant General Counsel for LEO and oversees LEO’s three components: the General Litigation Division (Megan Rose, Chief); the Employment and Labor Law Division (Brian DiGiacomo, Chief); and the Oversight Division (Hillary Davidson, Acting Chief). LEO attorneys are committed to providing the highest level of legal services to the Department and its Bureaus.
The AGC/LEO supervises and directs all employment and non-employment related litigation brought by or against the Department as a whole, and handles matters involving oversight, FOIA, and related issues. The office consists of the Assistant General Counsel and three divisions -- the Employment and Labor Law Division, the General Litigation Division, and the Oversight Division.
Employment and Labor Law Division
The Employment and Labor Law Division (ELLD) provides counseling on all aspects of employment law, the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint process, and Federal sector labor-management relations law. ELLD attorneys represent the Department in administrative proceedings involving personnel matters before the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Office of Special Counsel, and the Foreign Service Grievance Board; in Equal Employment Opportunity cases before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; and in labor proceedings before the Federal Labor Relations Authority. ELLD attorneys also represent the Department in third-party arbitrations and assist the Department of Justice with litigation arising out of personnel actions and EEO complaints.
General Litigation Division
The General Litigation Division (GenLit) handles a wide range of litigation matters, including tort litigation, admiralty law, constitutional claims, representation of individual agency employees, evidentiary and testimonial procedures, administrative law, commercial law; environmental law; the Debt Collection Act, and the Program Fraud and Civil Remedies Act. In qui tam cases, GenLit consults with the DOC’s Inspector General, investigates cases, and prepares DOC’s recommendation for or against Department of Justice intervention. GenLit also administers the Department’s “Touhy” regulations, which govern the production of documents and the testimony of Department employees in litigation not involving the Department. Finally, GenLit assists with appellate matters, supporting DOC’s institutional interests and statutory missions in federal appellate and Supreme Court litigation.
The Oversight Division provides legal and strategic advice to the Department and its Bureaus on oversight and enforcement issues, including: responses to Inspector General referrals, audits, and investigations; responses to Congressional oversight inquiries and requests for briefing, interviews, and hearings; internal reviews initiated by the Department, its Bureaus, or by Inspector General referral; and criminal, civil, and administrative enforcement issues. In handling this work, the Oversight Division is responsible for the development of factual findings, analysis of legal issues, and development of strategy and arguments to deal with a wide range of Departmental oversight issues, and frequently works with senior leadership in the Commerce Department and its Bureaus, the Inspector General’s Office, and Congress. The Oversight Division also handles the Department’s FOIA appeals, and provides advice on FOIA matters to the Department and its Bureaus.