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Employee Discipline: District of Columbia

Employee Discipline requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Christine Zebrowski, Overbrook Law LLC


  • The D.C. Human Rights Act is broader than federal antidiscrimination laws. The Act prohibits discrimination in employment on a number of protected characteristics. See The D.C. Human Rights Act.
  • The D.C. smokers' rights law prohibits an employer from discriminating against any employee based on the use of tobacco or tobacco products. See Protection Against Discrimination or Retaliation in Disciplinary Situations; Smokers' Rights.
  • Employees are protected against retaliatory discharge for taking leave under the D.C. Family Medical Leave Act. See D.C. Family Medical Leave Act.
  • D.C. law protects employees of public sector employers or public contractors from retaliation. See Whistleblowers.
  • Employers may not discharge or otherwise discriminate against employees for complaining about or exercising rights under the District's minimum wage laws and the Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act. See Wage Complaints.
  • Employers may not discharge employees for filing workers' compensation claims. See Workers' Compensation Claims.
  • Under D.C.'s polygraph testing law, employers may not require employees to submit to a lie detector test as a condition of employment or continued employment. See Lie Detector Tests.
  • D.C. courts generally enforce noncompete agreements that are reasonable. See Noncompete Agreements.
  • D.C. has adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. See Trade Secrets.
  • D.C. employees owe their employers a fiduciary duty of loyalty, even in the absence of a written contract and even when employment is at will. See Duty of Loyalty.
  • D.C. is a one party consent district. See Employee Communications.
  • Criminal background checks are permitted in D.C., and the use of records of arrests and convictions generally follows federal law. See Use of Criminal History.
  • False imprisonment is an intentional tort, or wrongful act, in D.C. See False Imprisonment.
  • D.C. employers are required to post information on certain legal provisions. See Workplace Posters.