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District of Columbia Disability Discrimination Laws

Specific provisions for the District of Columbia.

Team Disclo
September 13, 2022

Employers must make reasonable accommodations, if possible, when employees’ specific physical or mental disability prevents the normal operation of a business or particular activity in existing structures. Employers can’t refuse to hire applicants with disabilities if their disabilities affect a secondary part of the job and reasonable accommodations can be made through minor job restructuring; in addition, they must retain employees who become disabled on the job if reasonable accommodations can be made.

Reasonable accommodations are job description, workplace design or physical renovation modifications. Determining whether modifications are reasonable accommodations depends on factors such as: their nature and cost; the number of people, with or without disabilities, who would benefit from them; and their benefits or drawbacks in terms of employers’ business type and composition and the workplace’s physical structure and layout.

D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 4, § 514

Under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers, including state and local governments, with 15 or more employees, are prohibited from discriminating against people with disabilities. Title I protects qualified individuals with disabilities in several areas, including job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation and job training. It is also unlawful to retaliate against someone for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on disability, or for filing an ADA discrimination charge. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) shares enforcement authority for Title I of the ADA with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which has primary responsibility for enforcing the employment provisions of the law. (Note: Federal employees and job applicants are covered by Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 instead of the ADA.

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