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Returning Citizens and Employment

Resource Pages

Resources for Job Applicants

Fact Sheets, Videos, Templates for Requesting Records, and more.

Resources for Employers

Fact Sheets, Videos, Notices of the Right to File, and more.


The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) is charged with enforcing the Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act of 2014, which aims to prevent unlawful screening of a job applicant’s criminal background. OHR accepts and investigates complaints that allege violations of the law, and when violations are found, penalties can be imposed. All complaints must have occurred on or after the law's effective date of December 17, 2014. 

Employers Covered by the Law

The law applies to all employers with 11 or more employees for job positions in the District of Columbia. This includes District government, companies and non-profit organizations. The federal government is NOT covered under this law. Additional exceptions apply.*

What the Law Requires of Employers

During the application or interview process, the law prohibits employers from asking job applicants about:

  • Arrests;
  • Criminal accusations made against the applicant that are not pending or did not result in a conviction; or
  • Criminal convictions.

However, an employer may ask about criminal conviction(s) after extending a conditional offer of employment (the employer can never ask about arrests or criminal acusations that aren't pending). An employer who properly asks about a criminal conviction can only withdraw the offer or take adverse action against the applicant for a legitimate business reason that is reasonable under the six factors** listed in the Act. If a job offer is revoked or adverse action taken, employers should provide the applicant with a Notice of the Right to File a Complaint. Job applicants can also request their interview and hire-related records, including any criminal background records obtained, from the employer using the Request for Records form or any other method. 

Filing a Complaint

If you believe an employer violated or is violating the Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act, you can file a complaint with our office within 365 days of the alleged violation. 

Penalties for Violations

OHR investigates the case and the Commission on Human Rights is the final decisionmaker on whether a violation occurred. Penalties may be imposed with half of the amount going to the complainant and the other half to the District, up to the following amounts:

  • $1000 for employers with 11 to 30 employees;
  • $2500 for employers with 31 to 99 employees; and
  • $5000 for employers with 100 or more employees.

Resources and Videos

Resources and Videos for Job Applicants

On this resource page for job applicants, the following materials are available:

  • Fact sheet for job applicants;
  • Sample template for requesting interview files; 
  • "I am a Returning Citizen" video;
  • "How the Law Works" video;
  • Application (Type A) and Interview Process (Type B) Complaint Forms; and the
  • Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act of 2014.

Resources and Videos for Employers

On this resource page for employers, the following materials are available:

  • Fact sheet for employers;
  • Notice of the Right to File; 
  • "I am a Returning Citizen" video; and
  • "What Employers Should Know" video; and the
  • Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act of 2014.

Recursos para los Solicitantes de Empleo y los Empleadores 

Recursos para los Empleadores 

* Exceptions apply for some employers, including (1) those where federal or District law or regulations require considering an applicant’s criminal history; (2) when a position is designated by government program or obligation to encourage employment of those with criminal histories; (3) or those who provide programs or services to minors or vulnerable adults. View a list of positions determined exempt from FCRSA.

** The six factors can be found on our Fact Sheet for Employers (PDF) and Fact Sheet for Job Applicants (PDF).