Use the Lexology Navigator tool to compare the answers in this article with those from 20+ other jurisdictions.

Discipline and termination

State procedures
Are there state-specific laws on the procedures employers must follow with regard to discipline and grievance procedures?

No.

At-will or notice
At-will status and/or notice period?

Unless the employment relationship is otherwise governed by an employment contract, D.C. employees are employed at will and can be terminated at any time without notice or without cause, as long as the termination is not otherwise unlawful.

What restrictions apply to the above?

D.C. prohibits employers from discharging an employee because of:

  • membership in a protected class;
  • engagement in a statutorily protected activity;
  • filing or reporting a complaint regarding a workplace health or safety violation; or
  • refusal to perform an act that violates some clearly articulated public policy (this is a narrow exception).

Final paychecks
Are there state-specific rules on when final paychecks are due after termination?

D.C. does not specifically require employers to provide specific documentation to terminated employees. However, the district generally requires that employers pay involuntary terminated employees’ final wages within one working day of discharge (D.C. Code Ann. § 32-1303).

Unless otherwise specified in a collective bargaining agreement, employers must pay wages that are due to a terminated employee no later than the working day following the date of termination (D.C. Code Ann. § 32-1303(1)). However, if the terminated employee was responsible for money belonging to the employer, the employee may be paid within four days of the date of termination in order to determine the accuracy of the employer’s accounts (D.C. Code Ann. § 32-1303(1)).

If an employee quits or resigns and has no employment contract for a period of more than 30 days, the employer shall pay any wages due by the next regular payday or within seven days of the date of resignation, whichever is earlier (D.C. Code Ann. § 32-1303(2)).