The Catholic University of America

Summary of District of Columbia Laws


Miscellaneous Employment Provisions

Lie Detectors: The use of lie detector tests is prohibited for any employer who does business in the District of Columbia. Employers may not administer, accept, or use the results of such a test in connection with employment, application, or hiring. Lie detector tests are considered an invasion of privacy and are a compensable tort. An employer may suffer a fine of $500 and/or 30 days in jail and is civilly liable to the individual, including liability for attorney's fees. However, this provision is not applicable to criminal or internal disciplinary investigations or pre-employment investigations done by the Metropolitan Police Department, the Fire Department, or the Department of Corrections. See D.C. Code Ann. §§ 32-901 to 32-903.

Cross Reference: See the federal Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2001 et seq.

Pre-hire Inquiries: The Employment Guidelines for the D.C. Human Rights Act require such inquiries to be free from discrimination. If there appears to be no logical explanation for questions that identify the applicant as a member of protected class, the inquiry may be viewed as evidence of job discrimination. However, inquiries that are necessary for compliance with affirmative action plans are legal. Regarding age, inquiry is limited to whether the applicant is between the ages of 18 and 65 and may not be required to provide evidence of age except for a business necessity and otherwise provided by law. An employer may not ask members of different classes different questions or questions regarding medical or handicap status except as allowed in the Physical Handicap Guidelines (D.C. Mun Regs. tit. 4, § 513). Nor may an employer request a record of arrests at the applicant's expense. See D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 4, § 503.

Reference: See the CUA Interview Guidelines, along with CUA's ADA Guidelines: Interview of Applicants.

Matriculation Guidelines: Pursuant to the D.C. Human Rights Act, the regulations provide that an employer cannot discriminate against students. The guidelines prohibit employers from using pay scales that are different for students and other employees with the same duties, experience, and schedule with few exceptions. Neither may an employer set aside specific job classifications to provide for students and supply low compensation for individuals in the classification, however, this is not meant to prohibit employers from creating jobs to provide financial assistance to students. An employer may not refuse to hire or fire a person because he/she is a part-time student if that status does not interfere with the job requirements. Also, an employer must grant reasonable periods of leave for registration when reasonable accommodation is feasible. See the "Matriculation Guidelines" at D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 4, § 510.

updated 6/11/07 (to update code & link to code) by APK
links updated 6/6/08 rab
Page checked August 4th, 2010, FJL.