Update Applicable to:
All employers in Washington D.C.

What happened?
On July 25, 2022, Mayor Bowser signed D.C Act 24-491, also known as the “Human Rights Enhancement Act” into law. This act amends the Human Rights Act of 1977 by adding homelessness as a protected class.

What are the details?
Effective October 1, 2022, homeless status will be included as a protected characteristic under D.C’s human rights law, alongside other protected characteristics such as sex, race, and national origin. This means employers should not inquire about an applicant’s or employee’s living situation or use that information when making employment decisions.

Harassment Definitions
DC law now defines harassment as conduct that is based on a protected characteristic and either:

Likewise, sexual harassment is now defined as the conduct of a sexual nature when one or more of the following is true:

The harassment definitions depart from the general standard by omitting the requirement that the offending conduct is “severe or pervasive.” Instead, the DC harassment standard considers all the circumstances involved, which is a lower bar.

Independent Contractor Protections
DC’s antidiscrimination protections now also apply to independent contractors.

For more information, please see the links below:

D.C Act 24-491

Protected Traits in Washington D.C

News Article

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and educate their managers so that they do not discriminate against any homeless applicants or employees.