What are the requirements relating to advertising open positions?

An employer may not publish an employment advertisement that indicates a preference or limitation based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, matriculation, genetic information, disability, political affiliation, status as a victim or family member of a victim of domestic violence, a sexual offense, or stalking, or credit information of any individual.

Background checks

(a)Criminal records and arrests

Employers may not inquire about or require disclosure of an arrest or criminal accusation against an applicant that is not pending or did not result in conviction. An employer may not inquire about or require disclosure of a criminal conviction until after making a conditional offer of employment. Even then, the employer may only withdraw the conditional offer for a legitimate business reason. D.C. Code § 32-1342.

Background checks are mandatory in certain fields. For instance, certain health care facilities and childcare providers as well as the Department of Corrections must conduct criminal background checks of applicants or employees. D.C. Code Ann. §§ 4-1501.04, 24-211.41, 44-552.

(b)Medical history

Employers may make pre-employment inquiries into the medical history of applicants if based on a business necessity. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 4, § 514. Inquiries necessary for compliance with affirmative action requirements, that are remedial action to correct the effects of past discrimination, or that are voluntary action to overcome the effects of conditions that resulted in limited employment opportunities for a protected group are also legal. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 4, § 503. Employers may not require or request a genetic test as a condition of employment. D.C. Code § 2-1402.11; D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 4, § 509.

(c)Drug screening

An employer may only test a prospective employee for marijuana use after a conditional offer of employment has been extended, unless otherwise required by law. D.C. Code § 32-931.

(d)Credit checks

Employers may not discriminate against applicants based on their credit history by requiring or requesting the submission of credit information or using or referring to credit information. D.C. Code § 2-1402.11.

(e)Immigration status

No applicable law.

(f)Social media

No applicable law.


The background check protections found in D.C. law are in addition to the federal protections found in laws like the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).

Wage and hour


What are the main sources of wage and hour laws in your state?

Labor laws are found in Title 32 of the D.C. Code, which includes laws governing: leave, minimum wage, payment and collection of wages, wage transparency, and workers’ compensation. The DCHRA, which includes an equal pay provision, is found in Title 2, Chapter 14 of the Code.

What is the minimum hourly wage?

As of July 1, 2019, the minimum hourly wage required to be paid to an employee by an employer is $14.00. On July 1, 2020, the minimum hourly wage will increase to $15.00.

What are the rules applicable to final pay and deductions from wages?

An employee who is discharged or who resigns or quits must be paid by the next working day following the termination, unless a collective bargaining agreement states otherwise, the employee handled the employer’s money (in which case the employer has four days from the termination date to pay the employee’s wages), or there was no written employment contract for other 30 days (in which case the employer must pay wages on the next regular payday or within seven days of the termination date). See D.C. Code § 32-1303.

If an employee makes at least the minimum wage, an employer may make deductions for housing costs and up to two meals a day. An employer may not deduct from wages if doing so would bring the employee’s pay below the minimum wage.

Hours and overtime

What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks?

D.C. does not require meal or rest breaks.

What are the maximum hour rules?

No employer shall employ any employee for a workweek that is longer than 40 hours, unless the employee receives compensation for employment in excess of 40 hours at a rate not less than one-and-a-half times the regular rate at which the employee is employed.

How should overtime be calculated?

Overtime wages must be at least one-and-a-half times the employee’s regular rate.

What exemptions are there from overtime?

D.C.’s overtime provisions do not apply to employees:

  • employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity;
  • employed in the capacity of outside salesman;
  • engaged in the delivery of newspapers to consumer’s homes;
  • who are seamen;
  • who are railroad employees;
  • who are salesmen, partsmen, or mechanics primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles, trailers, or trucks, if employed by a non-manufacturing establishment primarily engaged in the business of selling these vehicles to ultimate purchasers;
  • employed by a carrier by air who voluntarily exchanges workdays with another employee for the primary purpose of utilizing air travel benefits available to these employees;
  • employed as a private household worker who lives on the premises of the employer; and
  • employed as a companion for the aged or infirm.
Record keeping

What payroll and payment records must be maintained?

Employers must keep records of the “precise time worked” each day and workweek by non-exempt employees. For at least three years, an employer must keep wage records that include an employee’s information, the rate and amount paid each pay period to each employee, the precise times worked each day and workweek by each employee, as well as the basis on which wages are paid, total gross and net wages paid each pay period with any deductions listed, and the date of payment and pay period covered by the payment. D.C. Code § 32-1008(a); D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 7, § 911.1.

Wage statements must be itemized and indicate the wage payment date; the gross wages paid, with regular and overtime earnings separated; net wages paid; itemized deductions and additions to wages; the pay rate; the hours worked during the pay period; the employee’s tip declaration form; and, if applicable, commission and non-commission earnings.