Code of the District of Columbia

Unit B. Office of Human Rights.


§ 2–1411.01. Establishment of the Office of Human Rights.

(a) Pursuant to § 1-204.04(b), there is hereby established, in the Executive Branch of the government of the District of Columbia, an Office of Human Rights under the supervision of a Director, who shall carry out the functions and authorities assigned to the Office. The Office of Human Rights (“Office”) is established as a separate agency as of October 1, 1999.

(b) The Director shall have full authority over the Office and all functions and personnel assigned thereto, including the power to redelegate to other employees and officials of the Office such powers and authority as in the judgment of the Director are warranted in the interests of efficiency and sound administration.

(c)(1) The Director shall have a demonstrated professional background in human rights law.

(2)(A) For the purposes of this subsection, the term “human rights law” means District or federal laws related to discrimination by reason of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, disability, source of income, status as a victim of an intrafamily offense, and place of residence or business.

(B) For the purposes of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the terms “age”, “marital status”, “personal appearance”, “sexual orientation”, “gender identity or expression”, “familial status”, “family responsibilities”, “matriculation”, “political affiliation”, “genetic information”, “disability”, “source of income”, and “intrafamily offense” shall have the same meanings as provided in § 2-1401.02.


(Oct. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 13-38, § 202, 46 DCR 6373; May 2, 2015, D.C. Law 20-266, § 2, 62 DCR 1540.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-1401.02 and § 2-1431.01.

Effect of Amendments

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-266 added (c).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) addition of subchapter IV, consisting of §§ 1-2571 to 1-2576 1981 Ed., see §§ 202 to 207 of the Service Improvement and Fiscal Year 2000 Budget Support Emergency Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-110, July 28, 1999, 46 DCR 6320).

Short Title

Section 201 of D.C. Law 13-38 provided: “This subtitle may be cited as the ‘Office of Human Rights Establishment Act of 1999’.”


§ 2–1411.02. Purpose.

The purpose of the Office is to secure an end to unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and educational institutions for any reason other than that of individual merit. The Office shall seek to eradicate discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression (as defined in § 2-1401.02(12A)), familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, physical disability, source of income, place of residence or business, and status as a victim or family member of a victim of domestic violence, a sexual offense, or stalking.


(Oct. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 13-38, § 203, 46 DCR 6373; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 12, 53 DCR 6198; June 25, 2008, D.C. Law 17-177, § 5, 55 DCR 3696; Apr. 11, 2019, D.C. Law 22-281, § 3, 66 DCR 1601.)

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-305 substituted “disability” for “handicap”.

D.C. Law 17-177 substituted “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression (as defined in § 2-1401.02(12A))” for “sexual orientation”.

Applicability

Applicability of D.C. Law 22-281: § 7167 of D.C. Law 23-16 repealed § 4 of D.C. Law 22-281. Therefore the amendment of this section by D.C. Law 22-281 has been implemented.

Applicability of D.C. Law 22-281: § 4 of D.C. Law 22-281 provided that the change made to this section by § 3 of D.C. Law 22-281 is subject to the inclusion of the law’s fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. Therefore that amendment has not been implemented.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) repeal of applicability provision of D.C. Law 22-281, see § 7167 of Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2019 (D.C. Act 23-112, Sept. 4, 2019, 66 DCR 11964).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of applicability provision of D.C. Law 22-281, see § 7167 of Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2019 (D.C. Act 23-91, July 22, 2019, 66 DCR 8497).

For temporary (90-day) addition of subchapter IV, see notes following § 2-1411.01.


§ 2–1411.03. Functions.

The functions of the Office shall be to:

(1) Educate the public, including District residents and employers, about Unit A of this chapter (“Human Rights Act”);

(2) Undertake investigations and public hearings on racial, religious, or ethnic group tensions, prejudice, intolerance, bigotry, disorder, and on any form of unlawful discrimination pursuant to the Human Rights Act;

(3) Receive, review, and investigate complaints of unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, or educational institutions;

(4) Receive and investigate complaints of violations of § 32-501 et seq. and § 32-1201 et seq. and take appropriate enforcement action regarding these complaints;

(5) Mediate complaints of unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, or educational institutions to help parties to a complaint reach a voluntary settlement;

(6) Conciliate complaints of unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, or educational institutions, after the Office has made a finding of probable cause to believe that an act of unlawful discrimination has occurred, to help the parties to a complaint reach a voluntary settlement;

(7) Certify a complaint to the Office of the Corporation Counsel for legal action needed, in the Director’s judgment, to preserve the status quo or to prevent irreparable harm to a party to the complaint;

(8) Forward to the Commission on Human Rights, for a hearing, decision, and order, any complaint that has resulted in a finding of probable cause by the Office;

(9) Issue, adopt, promulgate, amend, and rescind such rules and procedures as the Director deems necessary to effectuate the provisions of this unit, in accordance with procedures promulgated pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2; and

(10) On or before January 2, 2018, develop and conduct a public information campaign to educate employees and employers about the requirements of Unit A of this chapter, pertaining to unlawful discriminatory practices based on the credit information of an individual.


(Oct. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 13-38, § 204, 46 DCR 6373; June 19, 2001, D.C. Law 13-313, § 8, 48 DCR 1873; Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-256, § 3, 64 DCR 2045.)

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-313 added par. (9).

Applicability

Section 7030 of D.C. Law 22-33 repealed § 4 of D.C. Law 21-256. Therefore the changes made to this section by D.C. Law 21-256 have been implemented.

Applicability of D.C. Law 21-256: § 4 of D.C. Law 21-256 provided that the change made to this section by § 3 of D.C. Law 21-256 is subject to the inclusion of the law’s fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. Therefore that amendment has not been implemented.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) repeal of § 4 of D.C. Law 21-256, see § 7030 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of § 4 of D.C. Law 21-256, see § 7030 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).

For temporary (90-day) addition of subchapter IV, see notes following § 2-1411.01.


§ 2–1411.04. Transfers.

All positions, personnel, property, records, and unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations, and other funds available or to be made available to the Department of Human Rights and Local Business Development for the human rights functions set out in Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1989, effective November 1, 1989, are hereby transferred to the Office.


(Oct. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 13-38, § 205, 46 DCR 6373.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) addition of subchapter IV, see notes following § 2-1411.01.


§ 2–1411.05. Organization.

(a) There are hereby established the following 5 primary organizational functions in the Office:

(1) The Office of the Director, which sets overall policy and performance targets for the Office, supervises and evaluates staff, administers the budget, and promotes conciliation after a determination of probable cause has been reached.

(2) Education and Research, which studies patterns of discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and educational institutions, and educates District residents, employers, community groups, and other concerned parties about the Human Rights Act and federal anti-discrimination laws in order to prevent unlawful discrimination.

(3) Intake, which counsels prospective complainants on the Office’s functions and statutory responsibilities, evaluates the complainants’ allegation of unlawful discrimination, and completes the forms and procedures necessary for the filing of a complaint;

(4) Mediation, which trains and oversees the activities of mediators who assist the parties to a complaint in trying to reach a voluntary settlement; and

(5) Investigations, which solicits and evaluates evidence provided by the complainant and respondent to prepare a written determination about whether there is probable cause to believe that the respondent has violated the Human Rights Act.

(b) The Director, in the performance of his or her duties and functions, is authorized to restructure the organizational components of the Office as he or she deems necessary to improve the quality of services.


(Oct. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 13-38, § 206, 46 DCR 6373.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) addition of subchapter IV, see notes following § 2-1411.01.


§ 2–1411.05a. Mandatory workplace training. [Not Funded]

Not Funded.


(Oct. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 13-38, § 206a; as added Dec. 13, 2018, D.C. Law 22-196, § 5, 65 DCR 12049.)

Applicability

Applicability of D.C. Law 22-196: § 8 of D.C. Law 22-196 provided that the creation of this section by § 5 of D.C. Law 22-196 is subject to the inclusion of the law’s fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. Therefore that amendment has not been implemented.


§ 2–1411.06. Abolishment of the Department of Human Rights and Local Business Development.

Pursuant to § 1-204.04(b), the Council hereby abolishes the Department of Human Rights and Local Business Development, established under Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1989, effective November 1, 1989. The Department of Human Rights and Local Business Development is abolished as of October 1, 1999.


(Oct. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 13-38, § 207, 46 DCR 6373.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) addition of subchapter IV, see notes following § 2-1411.01.