District of Columbia: Limitations on Reporting Negative Information in Background Checks Used for Employment Purposes

Although several states have laws analogous to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the District of Columbia does not. As a rule, the District of Columbia follows the federal FCRA regarding the limitations on reporting negative information in background check reports used for employment purposes. However, there are three notable exceptions where district law differs from the FCRA regarding reporting criminal records:

(1)        Records of arrests or criminal accusations that did not result in a conviction cannot be reported (unless the charges are pending);

(2)        Inquiries about criminal convictions cannot be made unless a conditional offer of employment is made; and

(3)        Convictions with a completed sentence that is more than 10 years old cannot be reported.

The first two exceptions are found in the district’s Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act of 2014 codified at Sections 32-1341 – 32-1346 of the Code of District of Columbia, and the third exception is found in Section 2–1402.66 of the district’s Human Rights Law.

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