District of Columbia: New Law Prohibits Employers from Using Credit Information in Employment Decisions

On February 15, 2017, the “Fair Credit in Employment Amendment Act” went into effect. The new law bars Washington DC employers from using or obtaining a job applicant’s or employee’s credit information for employment purposes.

The Act amends the Washington DC Human Rights Act and makes it unlawful for an employer to ask an employee to submit or to inquire into an employee’s credit information. With the new law, credit information is defined as an employee’s creditworthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, or credit history.

There are several exceptions to this amendment that apply to private employers:

  • Where an employer is otherwise required by Washington DC law to (a) ask an employee to submit credit information, or (b) inquire into an employee’s credit information;
  • Applications for certain police officer positions;
  • A position that requires possession of a security clearance under District law;
  • Disclosures by District government employees of their credit information to the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability or the Office of the Inspector General, or the use of such disclosures by those agencies;
  • Where the position will involve access to personal financial information, such as financial institutions; and
  • Where an employer requests or receives credit information pursuant to a lawful subpoena, court order, or law enforcement investigation.

If an organization is found in violation of this new law, they could be fined starting at $1,000 for a first offense up to $5,000 for multiple offenses.

 

District of Columbia Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2014

Effective March 3, 2015, the District of Columbia’s Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2014 (PPWFA) will require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees whose ability to perform the functions of their job is limited by pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions, including breastfeeding, as long as the accommodations do not cause undue hardship to the employer. Under the statute, employers must engage in the interactive process with employees who request accommodations to include:

  • More frequent or longer breaks;
  • Time off to recover from childbirth;
  • Temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position;
  •  Acquisition or modification of equipment or seating;
  • Temporary light duty or modified work schedules;
  • Having the employee refrain from heavy lifting;
  • Relocation of a work area; or
  • Providing of private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk.

Employers must also post the notice of PPWFA rights, in English and Spanish; in a conspicuous place and provide the notice to:

  • New hires at the commencement of employment;
  • All existing employees within 120 days after the law’s effective date (July 1, 2015); and
  • An employee who notifies the employer of her pregnancy or other covered condition, within 10 days of the notification.

For non-English or Spanish speaking employees, employers must provide an accurate written translation of the notice, pursuant to Section 4 of the Language Access Act of 2004. Employers may require an employee to provide a certification from the employee’s health care provider concerning the medical advisability of the reasonable accommodation to the same extent a certification is required for other temporary disabilities.

Employers who violate an employee’s rights under PPWFA will be subjected to civil fines, penalties, suspension or revocation of the employer’s business registration certificates, permits, and licenses under the District of Columbia’s Department of Employment Services. Employees who establish a violation of the PPWFA may receive back pay, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs and reinstatement or other injunctive relief.

For more information about the Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2014, please visit http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/Gateway/NoticeHome.aspx?noticeid=5173512

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