Code of the District of Columbia

§ 32–141.03. Prohibited retaliation.

*NOTE: This section was created by temporary legislation that will expire on December 24, 2021.*

(a) No employer may take an adverse employment action against an employee because the employee:

(1) Complied or reasonably attempted to comply with the requirements of a Mayor's Order;

(2) Reasonably attempted to prevent or stop a violation of the requirements of a Mayor's Order;

(3) Submitted a complaint to the Mayor or the Attorney General pursuant to this chapter;

(4) Raised reasonable concerns about workplace health and safety practices related to COVID-19 to:

(A) The employer, the employer's agent, other employees, contractors, or agents of the employer;

(B) A government agency; or

(C) The public; or

(5) Attempted to secure any other right or protection contained in this chapter or to prevent or stop a violation of this chapter.

(b)(1) No employer may take an adverse employment action against an employee because the employee:

(A) Tested positive for COVID-19; provided, that the employee did not physically report to the workplace within 2 weeks after receiving a positive test result or during the timeframe recommended for quarantine by current DOH or CDC guidance;

(B) Had close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or was exposed to someone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms;

(C) Needs to quarantine in accordance with CDC or DOH guidance;

(D) Is sick with COVID-19 symptoms and is waiting for a COVID-19 test result; or

(E) Is caring for someone who is sick with COVID-19 symptoms or who is quarantined in accordance with CDC or DOH guidance.

(2) Nothing in this section prohibits an employer from requiring an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19, who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or who has recently been exposed to someone with COVID-19 to refrain from entering the workplace until the employee is no longer experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and the applicable period of quarantine recommended by the DOH, CDC, or WHO has elapsed, or until a medical professional has cleared the employee to return to the workplace.

(c) No employer may prohibit or cause another person to prohibit or discourage an employee from wearing or using PPE.

(d)(1) No employer may require an employee to sign a contract or other agreement that would limit or prevent the employee from disclosing information about the employer's workplace health or safety practices or hazards related to COVID-19 or to otherwise comply with any workplace policy that would limit or prevent such disclosure.

(2) A contract, other agreement, or policy prohibited pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be void and unenforceable as contrary to the public health and to the public policy of the District.

(3) An employer's enforcement of a policy prohibited by paragraph (1) of this subsection or an employer's attempt to obtain an employee's consent to a contract or other agreement prohibited by paragraph (1) of this subsection, regardless of whether the attempt is successful, shall constitute an adverse employment action.

(e)(1) If an employer takes an adverse employment action against an employee within 30 days after the employee engages or attempts to engage in activity protected under subsection (a)(2), (3), (4), or (5) of this section or subsections (b), (c), or (d) of this section, the adverse employment action shall be presumed retaliatory and taken because of the employee's protected activity.

(2) An employer may rebut a presumption of retaliation by a preponderance of the evidence that the adverse employment action was taken for legitimate purposes and not because the employee engaged in or attempted to engage in protected activity.

(f) The protections of this section do not apply to an employee if the employee knowingly and falsely claims to:

(1) Have been exposed to COVID-19;

(2) Have COVID-19;

(3) Be providing caretaking services to someone required to self-quarantine; or

(4) Be required to self-quarantine.


(May 13, 2021, D.C. Law 24-6, § 103, 68 DCR 003198.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) creation of this section, see § 103 of Workplace Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Act 24-26, Feb. 26, 2021, 68 DCR 002616).

For temporary (90 days) creation of this section, see § 103 of Protecting Businesses and Workers from COVID-19 Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Act 24-7, Feb. 1, 2021, 68 DCR 001822).

For temporary (90 days) creation of this section, see § 103 of Protecting Businesses and Workers from COVID-19 Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-483, Nov. 16, 2020, 67 DCR 13860).

For temporary (90 days) creation of this section, see § 103 of Protecting Businesses and Workers from COVID-19 Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-384, Aug. 13, 2020, 67 DCR 9870).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) creation of this section, see § 103 of Workplace Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic Temporary Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Law 24-6, May 13, 2021, 68 DCR 003198).

For temporary (225 days) creation of this section, see § 103 of Protecting Businesses and Workers from COVID-19 Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Law 23-168, Dec. 23, 2020, 67 DCR 13025).