The Catholic University of America

Summary of District of Columbia Laws

(see also selected DC cases here)


Sexual Harassment

D.C. Code Ann. § 2-1402.11

The Law: Encompassed within the D.C. Human Rights Act, the law makes sexual harassment in the workplace unlawful. To establish a prima facie case of sexual harassment, the victim must show: (1) he/she is a member of a protected class; (2) that he/she has been subject to unwelcome behavior that was based on sex; and (3) the harassment affected a term, condition, or privilege of employment. Howard University v. Best, 484 A.2d 958 (D.C. App. 1984).

Sexual harassment has been deemed to be a form of sex discrimination, which is prohibited by the laws and regulations of D.C. See D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 4, § 101.4. In addition, the regulations state: "It shall be considered an unlawful discriminatory practice for a person in an employment relationship to overtly threaten or adversely affect another person's employment status for failure to engage in sexually-related activity on or off the job." D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 4, § 516.8.

Sexual harassment is defined as:

unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when the following occurs:

(a) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment;

(b) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an employee is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting the employee; or

(c) the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Sexual harassment may include but is not limited to, verbal harassment or abuse, subtle pressure for sexual activity, patting or pinching, brushing against another employee's body, or demand for sexual favors.

D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 4, § 199.

Reference: See the CUA (brochure) Sexual Harassment Is Against the Law.




updated 6/11/07 (to update code & link to code) by APK
Revised NTC 11-7-07
DC Code update 2/25/08 RAB
links updated 6/6/08 rab
Links updated August 3rd, 2010, FJL.