Tuesday, February 20, 2007
To prevent discrimination, businesses and government agencies in the District need to make information available to employees and customers.
(Washington, DC) – The District Office of Human Rights (OHR) announced today the release of new posters that private businesses based in the city, as well as DC government agencies and departments must use to advise their customers about their rights in the following areas: public accommodations, housing, employment, and educational institutions. Pursuant to DC Official Code § 2-1402.51, all businesses and District government entities in the District of Columbia must place the posters that apply to their service in a conspicuous area.
"Having this information readily accessible to District residents and visitors is the law,” indicated Gustavo Velasquez, Director of the Office of Human Rights. “Everyone should know that under the DC Human Rights Act of 1977, as amended, as well as other local and federal statutes, people doing business in the Nation’s Capital need to be informed of their civil rights. It is everyone’s duty to ensure that discrimination of any form is not tolerated in the workplace or anywhere else,” affirmed Velasquez.
Information on these posters includes two new protected categories that the Council of the District approved and the Mayor signed into law in 2006. These categories are “Gender Identity and Expression” and “Genetic Information.” The District of Columbia joins approximately 65 other jurisdictions in extending protection from discrimination to transgender individuals. It is now law in DC to ensure that transgender individuals are treated in a manner that is consistent with their identity or expression, rather than according to their presumed or assigned sex or gender. Likewise, employers and health insurers in the District are now prohibited from discriminating against an individual on the basis of genetic information (i.e. DNA which may indicate a person’s susceptibility to certain diseases or conditions). No longer are employers and health insurers able to request, require, or administer a genetic test as a condition for employment or for obtaining insurance or setting premium rates.
These notices also address rights pertaining the laws and regulations for parental leave in the workplace, family medical leave, as well as fair housing practices.
The new posters are available in English and five other languages (Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Amharic), and are available, free of charge, through the internet. To view and download these posters, go to the Workplace Posters page.
OHR plans to work in the next several months with advocacy groups and community service providers to disseminate information about these posters as extensively as possible. Any person or business with questions about the posters should contact Brittany Woolfolk, OHR Compliance Officer, at (202) 727-4559 or [email protected].
The DC Office of Human Rights is an agency of the District of Columbia government that seeks to eradicate discrimination, increase equal opportunity, and protect human rights in the city. The Office enforces the DC Human Rights Act of 1977 and other laws and policies on nondiscrimination. The Office is also the advocate for the practice of good human relations and mutual understanding among the various racial ethnic and religious groups in the District of Columbia.