Last week, the D.C. Office of Human Rights (OHR) issued an announcement stating that it has issued resources and guidance to the public on how to file a complaint to enforce the new Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act of 2014. Legal Aid is proud to have been a part of a broad coalition of legal services, civil justice, and housing and employment advocates who worked to push this measure through the D.C. Council earlier this year.
The new law, effective immediately, prohibits District employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s arrests, criminal convictions, or accusations during the initial phases of the hiring process. Employers may no longer include a question about an applicant’s criminal background on job applications and may only ask about criminal convictions after a conditional offer of employment is made. A conditional offer may only be rescinded for a “legitimate business reason,” which – as it pertains to criminal convictions – typically requires an employer to factor into account, among other things, the age of the conviction, the type of conviction, and its connection to the functions and responsibilities of the position in question. Complaints alleging violation of the new law are filed with the Office of Human Rights.
More information and resources about the new law, and OHR’s enforcement of it, can be found on the agency’s website. OHR is also offering individuals to attend a returning citizen information session on to be held on Tuesday, January 6, 2015 from 3:00pm to 4:00pm at the Anacostia Library (1800 Good Hope Road SE, Washington, DC 20020).