District of Columbia Pre-Employment Inquiries (Interviewing) laws & HR compliance analysis

District of Columbia Pre-Employment Inquiries (Interviewing): What you need to know

Protected classes. The District of Columbia Human Rights Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, genetic information, matriculation, political affiliation, or credit information (D.C. Code § 2-1402.11 et seq.). The act covers all employers in the district regardless of size.
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Job applicants should not be asked about these characteristics, either on application forms or in interviews, unless the inquiry is job-related. Employers may not require information from members of one group that is not also required from members of other groups. For example, older applicants may not be asked health-related questions unless they are asked of younger applicants.
Sex discrimination. Under the act, sex discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, related medical conditions, or breastfeeding (D.C. Code § 2-1401.05). Genetic information. Under the act, it is unlawful for an employer to request, require, or administer a genetic test to employees or applicants. Employers may not seek or obtain an applicant's or employee's genetic information except by written consent for:
• Determining the existence of a bona fide occupational qualification
• Investigating a workers' compensation or disability claim
• Determining an employee's susceptibility of exposure to potentially toxic substances in the workplace
(D.C. Code § 2-1401.03(e)).
Business Necessity Exception (BNE). An employer may make an employment inquiry about a protected characteristic only if it can be justified by business ...

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