Defending Decency
And Civil Rights In The Workplace

Key Changes to D.C. Employment Laws

by | Apr 18, 2023 | Firm News


On March 22, 2023, significant amendments to employment-related laws in Washington D.C. were enacted, impacting the D.C. Human Rights Act, Cannabis Employment Protections Amendment Act of 2022, Paid Family Leave Amendment Act, and the Non-Compete Clarification Amendment Act of 2022.

D.C. Human Rights Act (“DCHRA”):

The D.C. Human Rights Act was amended in three critical ways. Firstly, independent contractors are now protected under the law. Secondly, “homeless status” is now recognized as a protected characteristic. Thirdly, harassing conduct is no longer required to be “severe or pervasive,” but instead, the “totality of the circumstances” determines whether or not conduct constitutes harassment.

Employers must display an Equal Opportunity Poster that accounts for these changes.

Cannabis Employment Protections Amendment of 2022:

The Cannabis Employment Protections Amendment Act of 2022, going into effect in July 2023, prohibits employers from taking adverse action against employees who use recreational cannabis, participate in D.C. or another state’s medical cannabis program, or fail an employer-required cannabis drug test. There are exceptions to this prohibition for “safe-sensitive positions” and if actions are required by federal statute, regulation, contract, or funding agreement. Employers should review their drug policies to ensure compliance.

Paid Family Leave Amendment Act:

Under the Paid Family Leave Amendment Act, D.C. employees are now entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks of paid leave during a 52-week period, plus two weeks . Previously, employees would receive only eight (8) weeks of paid leave. Eligible employees may receive up to:

  1. 12 weeks to bond with a new child (increased from 8 weeks);
  2. 12 weeks to care for a family member with serious health conditions (increased from 6 weeks);
  3. 12 weeks to care for the employee’s own serious health condition (increased from 6 weeks)
  4. 2 weeks for prenatal leave.

Non-Compete Clarification Amendment of 2022:

The D.C. Council responded to the feedback from D.C. employers regarding the Ban on Non-Compete Agreements Amendment Act of 2020 by enacting the Non-Compete Clarification Amendment of 2022. This amendment revises the previous broad ban on non-compete agreements and now permits the inclusion of such clauses in employment contracts for highly compensated employees.

Please contact Freedman Law, LLC, if you have any questions regarding your rights in the workplace.