In late 2016, the city passed legislation that, beginning in 2020,
will allow private-sector employees to take paid leave for family
and medical reasons—something federal law doesn’t permit.
Human rights. D.C. employment laws are “considerably more
stringent than federal laws,” Prywes says. This is especially true
for the Washington, D.C., Human Rights Act (DCHRA).
Unlike Title VII, the DCHRA has:
• No administrative filing or exhaustion requirement.
• No cap on compensatory damages.
• More protected classes—for political affiliation, gender iden-
tity or expression, matriculation, family responsibilities, and
personal appearance. It also prevents discrimination based on
sexual orientation, family status and even obesity.
The DCHRA is “one of the broadest civil rights laws in the
nation,” notes Tom Spiggle, an attorney and founder of The Spiggle Law Firm in Washington, D.C. It applies to all employers
regardless of size. This contrasts with Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which apply only to organizations
with 15 or more employees. Most state laws have similar minimum thresholds to those federal statutes.
The bottom line for HR is to be sensitive to Washington, D.C.,
as a higher-risk environment for businesses, Prywes says.
LEAVE Up to 16 weeks of paid leave
over the course of 24 months.
Up to 12 weeks of unpaid
leave every 12 months.
APPLICABILITY Employers with 20 or more employees in the District of Columbia.
Organizations that employ at least 50
ELIGIBILIT Y A person must be employed with-
out a break in service for 12 months
and must work at least 1,000 hours
during that time.
A person must be employed for a total of at least
12 months, must work at least 1,250 hours in
the preceding 12-month period and must be
employed at a worksite where the employer has
at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
In 2015, the law was amended to include guidelines
related to transgender individuals that, among other
things, require New York City businesses to implement
gender-neutral dress codes.
Also be mindful of New York City’s Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act, which became effective
in 2015, Schlein says. It amended the city’s human rights
law to prohibit most employers from checking applicants’
salary history or creditworthiness when making employment decisions. Accordingly, when conducting job interviews in the city, don’t include questions about job seekers’
credit card debt, child support, student loans, foreclosures,
missed or late payments, bankruptcies, judgments, and
Prohibited Discrimination in NYC
The New York City Human Rights Law is quite expansive and
recognizes several categories of illegal discrimination, such as for:
■ ■ Sexual orientation.
■ ■ Marital and partnership status.
■ ■ Gender identity and expression.
■ ■ Unemployment status.
■ ■ Caregiver status.
■ ■ Victims of domestic violence, stalking and sex offenses, who
are entitled to reasonable accommodations.