DC Office of Human Rights Newsletter | Volume XXV | July 2020
Universal Paid Family Leave Arrived July 1 for District Workers: Here's What You Need to Know
The Law  
Passed by the DC Council in 2016, the  Universal Paid Family Leave Amendment Act   provides a new employment benefit which allows private sector employees in the District of Columbia to receive paid leave when taking the following types of leave: up to eight weeks to bond with a child (including adopted or foster children), six weeks to care for a sick family member with a serious health condition, and two weeks of personal medical care. Employees are eligible as long as they spend 50 percent of their time physically working in the District.  

Employers are required to post a notice of the benefits under this law including entitlement to pay for certain types of leave, complaint process, and anti-retaliation. There is a civil penalty of $100 for each day of violation.

Where do employees file for this benefit? And how do they appeal a claim decision?
The Office of Paid Family Leave (OPFL) within the Department of Employment Services (DOES) will process benefit claims filed by employees and any challenge to claim determinations can be filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings.

OHR's Role  
OHR will be responsible for investigating any complaint, other than claim determination and appeals, such as notice violation, retaliation, and interference. Retaliation is any adverse action taken by the employer on an employee for attempting or using the Universal Paid Family Leave benefit. This includes, but is not limited to termination, demotion, shift in primary duties and responsibilities and/or any change to pay, status, or terms of employment. 

How you can be prepared  
OHR suggests that you direct human resource personnel to read the Universal Paid Family Leave Act as well as the  report  conducted by the OPFL. There are numerous resources on OPFL's website , including a benefit calculator, which you can access by clicking the link below, but if you have further questions or inquiries contact DOES at 202-724-7000. 

If you have questions about the types of complaints OHR adjudicates, email OHR at ohr@dc.gov .
30th Anniversary of the ADA
This July, take some time to observe the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) . The ADA was intended as a “national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities,” and has been a critical tool in advancing accessibility rights over the course of the last three decades. Use the hashtag #ThanksToTheADA when talking about the 30th anniversary on social media.
Trait of the Month: National Origin
In the District, it is against the law to discriminate against someone based on the country or area where one’s ancestor’s are from in the areas of housing, employment, public accommodations, or educational institutions. For more information or to file a complaint visit our website,  ohr.dc.gov   .
Mayor Bowser Announces Phase Two Reopening 
On June 22nd, the District of Columbia government began Phase Two of reopening the city. Some of the things permitted in phase two include:

  • Gatherings of no more than 50 people;
  • Nonessential retail businesses can operate at 50% capacity;
  • Indoor seating in restaurants at 50% capacity and enforcing social distancing practices;
  • Personal services (salons, barbershops, tanning parlors, etc.) can operate by appointment only and must follow social distancing practices

In the interest of public safety and health, individuals must continue to practice social distancing from persons not in their household. Wearing a mask or face covering is one tool to protect an individual's own health and the health of others, but should not replace social distancing.
One Step Closer to DC Statehood!

For the first time in its 230 year history, the District is a step closer to becoming the 51st state in the United States after it was passed in the House of Representatives on June 26th.
Human Rights Liaison Training is Back!
OHR will be bringing back our quarterly  Human Rights Liaison Training in a two-day virtual session on Wednesday and Thursday, August 26-27 . Attendees will participate in a free, daylong training on the discrimination laws OHR enforces, as well as the process on how to identify and file a complaint if a client(s) experiences illegal discrimination. If you work for a social services organization and are interested in learning more about our office and the District's civil rights laws, click the link below to sign up for the training.
Director's Note
Dear Stakeholders, Partners, and DC Residents,  

This will be an unconventional July. As the weather warms up and we feel more inclined to go out and socialize, I urge people to practice social distancing and properly wear a face mask in public. It can save lives.  

I want to recognize that this July marks the  30th Anniversary  of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) being signed into law. The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. 

As the local agency that enforces civil rights laws, OHR is all too familiar with this very important law. We have created awareness campaigns to help educate the public on common misconceptions about people with disabilities called  End the Awkward . Additionally, we created a best practices guide for businesses to be more accessible and better serve people with disabilities called  Serving All

In this stressful time, I ask that you give each other additional patience and grace. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself. 
Michelle M. Garcia , Interim Director
DC Office of Human Rights | 202.727.4559 | ohr.dc.gov