- Purpose To establish policies and procedures
for ensuring that all external links on the Department of Labor's (the
"Department" or "DOL") public Web sites are in compliance with applicable laws
and regulations, consistent with the mission of the Department, and provide
information that is accurate, timely, and appropriate.
- Authority Secretary's Order 2-2005,
Delegation of Authority and Assignment of Responsibility for DOL Enterprise
- Background The Department of Labor's public
Web sites link to thousands of external Internet pages. Secretary's Order
2-2005 requires agencies to conduct an appropriate review of DOL Web sites to
ensure that information is timely, accurate, and compliant with all
legislative, administrative, and Departmental policies and mandates. This
policy is necessary to provide specific guidance to ensure compliance with the
- Applicable Laws and Regulations The following
laws and regulations, in addition to the programmatic laws administered by the
Department, should be considered when establishing external links:
- Office of Government Ethics Regulations 5
C.F.R. § 2635.702 (may not endorse outside entities or their products or
services); 5 C.F.R. § 2635.703 (may not release nonpublic information) and
5 C.F.R. § 2635.704 (may use government property only for official
- Privacy Act of 1974 This law establishes
fair information practices for the collection, maintenance, and use of personal
information by Federal agencies. It provides a civil remedy against the
Government for damages and criminal penalties against individuals for failure
to comply. (5 U.S.C. § 552a)
Labor Web sites This policy establishes procedures for the
collection, use, and disposition of personally identifying information
collected via the Department's public Web site. (DLMS 9-1500)
- Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 This law
seeks to minimize the burden on the public from the collection of information
by the Federal Government by requiring that the Office of Management and Budge
(OMB) review and approve proposed agency collections of information, which are
defined as asking the same question of ten or more persons. It requires that
agencies perform their information resources management activities in an
efficient, effective, and economical manner. (44 U.S.C. § 3501-3520)
- Computer Security Act of 1987 This law
necessitates training for all employees responsible for the management and use
of Federal computer systems that process sensitive information. (Pub. L. No.
- Anti-Lobbying Act This law prohibits the
use of appropriated funds for activities that directly or indirectly are
intended or designed to influence in any manner a Member of Congress to favor
or oppose any legislation or appropriation by Congress. (18 U.S.C. § 1913)
- Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998
This law places restrictions on the collection and use of information on
any Web site or online service directed to children (defined as an individual
under the age of 13), requires parental consent before any such collection, and
provides the parent with the right to see what is collected about his/her child
and to restrict dissemination or use or further collection of any information
about the child. (16 C.F.R. Part 312)
- Treasury and General Government Appropriations
Act This law prohibits Federal agencies from entering into
agreements with third parties to collect information relating to an
individual's access to or use of any nongovernmental Internet site. (Pub, L.
No. 107-67, § 639)
- Office of Management and Budget Guidelines for Ensuring
and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information
Disseminated by Federal Agencies. These guidelines provide guidance on
ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of
information disseminated by Federal agencies. (67 Fed. Reg. 8451 (February 22,
- Office of Management and Budget Memorandum for the Heads of
Executive Departments and Agencies from Clay Johnson III, Deputy Director for
Management, re Policies for Federal Agency Public Web sites. (M-05-04, December
- Rehabilitation Act This law requires that
agencies seek to ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to and
use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of the
information and data by individuals who do not have disabilities. (29 U.S.C.
- Deep Linking The act of bypassing the homepage or a major
entry point of a Web site and directly linking to a page or document within the
- DOL Public Web Site Any Web site accessible to the general
public that is owned, operated, or sponsored by the Department of Labor where
DOL maintains ownership of content or services of the Web site. Where DOL
shares, in whole or in part, the content ownership of the Web site, this
definition covers any presentation of information on such site that is clearly
identified as representing the Department of Labor . For the purposes of this
policy, content or services ownership is defined as DOL having the direct
authority and control of the Web materials or services offered to the public
through the Web site. It does not include Web sites where DOL's role is limited
to monitoring and/or reviewing the contents and services of a public Web site
for compliance with legal or administrative mandates.
- DOL-Sponsored Web site Any Web site where the Department
contributes funding, resources or content but does not have full ownership of
- Exit Page A page informing users that they are leaving a
Department of Labor public Web site.
- External Link A hypertext link to any Web site, service,
application, page, or document that is not a Department of Labor public Web
- External Page/Site Any Web service, application, page, or
document that is accessible through the World Wide Web and is not a Department
of Labor public Web site.
- Partnered Web Site Any Web site so identified (i.e.,
co-branded) where the Department collaborates equally with one or more Federal
or non-Federal entities and contributes resources or content but neither
maintains control of the site nor has full ownership of its content.
- Scope This policy seeks to ensure that
external links from the Department of Labor's public Web sites are appropriate,
consistent with the Department's mission, and compliant with administrative,
legislative, and Departmental policies and mandates. It requires agencies to:
- establish links to external Web sites and Internet services in
accordance with this policy,
- review and monitor external links on their Web pages as part of
their Web Review and Clearance Procedures, and
- establish procedures for handling requests from entities seeking
to have DOL link to their Web sites.
- Statements of Policy
- Agencies must ensure that external links from their Web pages comply
with all applicable laws and administrative mandates including, but not limited
to, those described in Section 4 above.
- Agencies must ensure that external links from their Web pages add
value to their sites and provide a useful service to the public.
- Agencies must ensure that information contained in external links is
not in conflict with the mission, programs, and policies of the Department.
- Evaluation Criteria: Prior to posting a link, the Department of Labor
(DOL) or appropriate agency must evaluate the link to determine if it meets
one of the following criteria:
- The link is to an official U.S. Federal Government Web site.
DOL may post links to any Government Web site that is publicly available
unless directed not to by the agency that owns the site. Federal
Government-owned or sponsored Web sites will generally have .gov, .mil, or .us
domains; however, some may occasionally end in .com, .org or .net. DOL may also
link to Web sites created by public or private sector partnerships with the
Federal Government, and state and local government Web sites.
instances, DOL Web sites will contain links to non-government owned or
sponsored Web sites, provided these sites provide government information and/or
services in a way that is not available on an official government Web site. DOL
Web sites provide these links as a public service to allow Internet visitors to
obtain information or services related to the site they are visiting.
The U.S. Government, including the Department of Labor, neither endorses nor
guarantees in any way the external organizations, services, advice, or products
included in these Web site links. Furthermore, the U.S. Government neither
controls nor guarantees the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of
the information contained in non-government Web site links. (See Appendix
- The link is to a Web site that provides official U.S. Government
information or services.
- The link is to a Web site with content that complements existing
information, products, and services on the DOL site where it is posted.
- In addition, all links on DOL Web sites must meet
all of the following criteria:
- The Web site being linked has content that is relevant,
useful, and authoritative for citizens, businesses, and/or government
- The Web site being linked has information that appears to be
accurate and current.
clearly describes the organization's information handling practices.
- The Web site being linked is "user-friendly."
- Agencies will make a good faith effort to ensure that they do not
link to Web pages that:
- contain information that is obviously inaccurate;
- lobby for a political party or position;
- exhibit pornography, hate, or bias;
- promote union services, activities, or positions;
- promote a religion, unless the content and/or services contained
is clearly and directly representing DOL or Administration initiatives (e.g.
the Administration's faith-based initiative);
- have the primary purpose of advertising commercial products or
- pages representing Federally-approved commercial products or
services (e.g., GSA Schedule Services and Section 508 approved product lists);
- pages representing commercial training opportunities,
conferences, or other events which are sponsored or co-sponsored by Federal
organizations, DOL personnel are active participants, or the activity clearly
and directly represents DOL or Administration initiatives;
- pages specifically approved by the Office of the Public
Affairs (OPA); or
- pages that provide additional software necessary to view Web
site content (e.g., Adobe Acrobat Reader).
- charge fees to access the information or services on that page;
- collect personally identifiable information from the public,
unless the collection is voluntary and the Web site clearly advertises its
- knowingly collect information from children under the age of 13;
- contain obvious barriers to accessibility for people with
disabilities (e.g. flickering screens, images that have no alternate text
descriptors, and pages that use color to differentiate content); or
- contain other inappropriate material.
- In determining whether to link to an external Web page, agencies must
also consider the host Web site and/or the organization it represents to ensure
a link to that site supports the mission and functions of the Department of
Labor and is in the best interest of the Department's constituents. DOL
agencies will not establish links to any Web site, page, or organization that
promotes hate or bias, expresses or promotes political agendas, or contains
biased or misleading representations of administration policies or initiatives,
regardless of whether the specific page or pages being linked otherwise comply
with the provisions of this policy .
- Agencies will conduct periodic reviews of external links on their Web
pages to ensure compliance with this policy as part of their Web Review and
- Agencies will review and abide by the linking policies of the
external Web site, if such policies are posted clearly on the Web site.
- Deep linking to external Web pages is permitted unless the external
Web site specifically forbids this practice.
- Agencies will establish procedures for handling requests from
entities seeking to have the Department link to their Web sites. Agencies must
develop fair and impartial criteria for accepting or refusing external link
requests. In the case where links to similar entities are already linked on DOL
public Web sites, that justification must include a description of why the
existing link is appropriate and the requesting entity site is not. If the DOL
agency is unable to justify a refusal to link to the similar Web site, it must
add the new link or delete the similar link that resides on its Web site to
avoid the appearance that it is favoring one organization over another.
- Agencies must let users know that an external link will take them off
of the DOL Web site. There are two possible ways to do this:
- associate an exit page with each external link pursuant to the
instructions in Appendix A. The exit page will be displayed immediately upon a
user clicking on an external link on a DOL public Web site page; or
- add the appropriate disclaimer statement preceding the group of
links stating that the links will take the user to an external site.
- Agencies will link to original sources of information rather than
- The Department and/or responsible agency, in its sole discretion,
will determine whether the external Web site meets the purpose of the DOL or
agency Web site.
- Hyperlinks to external Web sites and pages may be removed or replaced
at the sole discretion of the Department or responsible agency, at any time
- Exceptions to this policy can be made in certain cases. Agencies must
submit requests for exceptions to the Office of Public Affairs (OPA).
- The Office of Public Affairs, in accordance with
Secretary's Order 2-2005, will:
- manage and coordinate the implementation of this policy in
- monitor agency compliance with this policy.
- DOL Agency Heads will:
- establish criteria and assign roles and responsibilities for
reviewing, approving, and monitoring external links on their Web pages in
compliance with this policy as part of their Web Review and Clearance
- establish procedures for handling requests from entities
seeking to have DOL link to their Web sites.
- The Office of the Solicitor will provide legal
interpretation and guidance on external linking issues.
Appendix A Exit Pages
There are two types of disclaimers that agencies can use to let users
know that an external link will take them off the DOL Web site.
- For external links to DOL-sponsored Web sites and all Federal
Government Web sites, including congressional, Federal judicial and military
Web sites, the exit page or the statement above a group of links must contain
the following text (see policy for the definition of a "DOL-sponsored Web
"You are exiting the Department of Labor's Web Server. Thank
you for visiting our site. Please click on the link below to continue."
- For all other external links, the exit page or the statement above a
group of links must contain the following text:
"You are exiting the
Department of Labor's Web server. The Department of Labor does not endorse,
takes no responsibility for, and exercises no control over the linked
organization or its views, or contents, nor does it vouch for the accuracy or
accessibility of the information contained on the destination server. The
Department of Labor also cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials
contained in linked Web sites. Users must request such authorization from the
sponsor of the linked Web site. Thank you for visiting our site. Please click
on the link below to continue."
Appendix B External Linking Best Practices
The following are best practices that agencies can use when selecting
and reviewing external links for inclusion on their Web sites:
- Assign specific program personnel to take responsibility for
selecting and reviewing external links to information for which they have
- Review external links every six months to ensure that they remain
up-to-date, accurate, and appropriate.
- Ask the external Web site and/or the organization it represents
whether it is the original source of information on its Web pages.
- Avoid linking to pages that require users to obtain a password to
access the information.
- Search external Web sites for policies on linking to their Web pages.