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Employee Privacy: District of Columbia

Employee Privacy requirements for other states

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

Authors: Stuart R. Buttrick, Susan W. Kline and Sarah E. Caldwell, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP


  • Employers are prohibited from conducting surveillance on their employees, unless one party to the conversation consents. See Wiretapping and Monitoring Communications.
  • An employee's privacy is protected by limiting the types of tests that an employer can request an employee to take. See Employee Testing.
  • Although tightly regulated, medical marijuana is legal in the District of Columbia.. But nothing in the law precludes employers from prohibiting its use as a condition of employment. See Medical Marijuana.
  • In general, smoking in the workplace is banned in the District, although exemptions exist that must meet specific regulations. See Smoking in the Workplace.
  • All employers are susceptible to claims of invasion of privacy. See Common Law Invasion of Privacy Claims.
  • Businesses that maintain or handle electronic data containing personal information have a duty to notify District residents of a breach of security relating to their personal information. See Data Breach Security.
  • Criminal records maintained by health care industry employers must be kept confidential, maintained for one year after the subject of the record has ended his or her employment and then the criminal record must be destroyed. See Health Care Industry Criminal Records.
  • Employers must provide employees who desire to breastfeed or express breast milk with privacy to do so. See Breastfeeding.
  • Employers must treat personnel files as confidential information and take steps to protect them. See Personnel Files.