DC Office of Human Rights Newsletter | Volume XVII | October 2019
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month!
October is a month focused on spreading awareness and understanding for serious issues. National observances of Domestic Violence Awareness (DVAM), Breast Cancer Awareness, Bullying Prevention and Disability Employment Awareness, Crime Prevention Awareness all take place this month.

The DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCCADV), an organization focused on ensuring that domestic violence is eliminated in the District, honors DVAM each October through their Spread Love DC campaign, which sparks conversations about healthy relationships and
engages young people, community leaders and advocates in crucial prevention work to end violence before it even begins . Be sure to get involved by spreading the word, wearing purple (October 24th) or by attending their events (link to their calendar at bottom of this section).

OHR is excited to honor DVAM because it coincides with a new law we will begin enforcing. As of October 1, 2019, Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Offenses and Stalking (DVSOS) is the 21st protected trait in the District! Enforced in the employment sector, it means that employers, employment agencies and labor organizations cannot discriminate against someone based on them being a victim or a family member of a victim of domestic violence, sexual offenses and/or stalking.

Discrimination under this law could potentially look like an employer taking adverse action against an employee based on:

  • An employee attending, participating, preparing for (or requested leave to attend, participate in or prepare for) a criminal, civil or administrative proceeding related to DVSOS
  • An employee sought physical or medical treatment or counseling relating to DVSOS
  • An individual caused a disruption at the employee's workplace or made a threat to the employee's employment related to DVSOS.  

Additionally, if an employer refuses to provide a reasonable accommodation or discloses information about an employee experiencing DVSOS without their permission, these could be violations of the law.

If an employee believes they have been discriminated against by an employer because of DVSOS, they may file a complaint with OHR within one year of the incident.
October is also National Bullying Prevention Month
OHR's Citywide Youth Bullying Prevention Program aims to reduce incidents of bullying across the District by emphasizing prevention and proper procedures for responding when incidents occur. The program works with youth-serving government agencies, District schools and youth-serving government grantees to ensure bullying prevention policies are adopted and implemented consistently. For more information, visit our Bullying Prevention website; ohr.dc.gov/page/bullyingprevention where you can access resources and tips, best practice models as well as our recent compliance report .
This Months Spotlights
Join the Mayor's Office on Latino Affairs as they host a Breakfast for Seniors on Friday, October 11th at the Reeves Center (2000 14th St NW, 2nd Floor Community Room) starting at 9am as a part of DC Hispanic Heritage Month, which ends October 15th.

The Office of Disability Rights (ODR) will host the 12th Annual Mayor's Disability and Diversity Expo on October 24th at the UDC Student Center (4200 Connecticut Ave NW) at 9:30am . The purpose of this free event is to advance the conversation on equal opportunities and inclusive environments for people with disabilities, complete with informational sessions and over 40 exhibitors.

Director's Note
Dear Stakeholders, Partners and DC Residents, 
Home is often a sanctuary. It is a safe space where you can escape the everyday grind of the outside world and receive support from family and loved ones. Unfortunately, home for far too many isn't a sanctuary at all. It is the opposite of a safe space, where emotional, physical, or financial abuse occurs. Research shows that nationally, one in four women and one in seven men will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime. In the District, nearly half the women in the city will experience some kind of severe emotional abuse by an intimate partner over their lifetime.
Not only is there a physical and emotional toll connected to domestic violence, but the victim could also lose their livelihoodemployment due to an abusive partner. Here in the District, however, residents who suffer from domestic violence and many other forms of harm now enjoy broader employment protections. Effective October 1 st the DC Office of Human Rights will now be enforcing the Employment Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Offenses, and Stalking Amendment Act of 2018 . Beginning this month, if you believe you were discriminated against by an employer because of your status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual offenses or stalking (DVSOS), you can file a complaint with our office.
Please help us share this information by sending this newsletter along to family, friends and neighborhoods so they too can learn about this new protected category of individuals. By doing so you can help us ensure that victims of domestic violence, sexual offense and stalking don't have to continually suffer because of past abuse and trauma. Working together we can do our part to help victims maintain stable employment.
October is also National Bullying Prevention Month. Student safety is of the utmost importance in the District, so Educators, parents and guardians, please familiarize yourself with our Bullying Prevention tips, resources and reports on our web page .
Yours in service,
Mó nica Palacio, OHR Director
DC Office of Human Rights | 202.727.4559 | ohr.dc.gov