This is a preview. To continue reading, register for free access now. Register Now or Log in

Employee Privacy: District of Columbia

Employee Privacy requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Authors: Stuart R. Buttrick, Susan W. Kline and Tareen Zafrullah, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP


  • Employers are prohibited from conducting surveillance on their employees, unless one party to the conversation consents. See Wiretapping and Monitoring Communications.
  • An employee's privacy is protected by limiting the types of tests that an employer can request an employee to take. See Employee Testing.
  • Although tightly regulated, both medical marijuana use and recreational marijuana use are legal in the District of Columbia. Employers face restrictions in testing prospective employees for marijuana. See Marijuana for Medical and Recreational Purposes..
  • In general, smoking in the workplace is banned in the District, although exemptions exist that must meet specific regulations. See Smoking in the Workplace.
  • All employers are susceptible to claims of invasion of privacy. See Common Law Invasion of Privacy Claims.
  • Businesses that maintain or handle electronic data containing personal information have a duty to notify District residents of a breach of security relating to their personal information. See Data Breach Security.
  • Employers must provide employees who desire to breastfeed or express breast milk with privacy to do so. See Breastfeeding.
  • Employers must treat personnel files as confidential information and take steps to protect them. See Personnel Files.
  • Employers are limited in their use of arrest records as part of the preemployment screening process. See Arrest and Conviction Records.
  • Individuals may be subject to background checks depending on their occupation. See Mandatory Background Checks.
  • Most employers in the District are restricted from criminal history inquiries prior to making a conditional job offer. See Ban the Box.
  • District of Columbia law prohibits employers from asking about an applicant's credit history in most situations. See Credit Checks.