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District of Columbia State Background Check Laws

In December 2010, the District of Columbia passed the Returning Citizens Public Employment Inclusion Act of 2010, contributing to the burgeoning fair-chance movement related to public employment.

Then, in July 2014, the District’s Council unanimously passed the Fair Criminal Records Screening Act of 2014, applying similar criteria to private employers in the District. An employer with 11 or more employees cannot request criminal background checks until they have made a conditional employment offer.

Conditional offers cannot be withdrawn, except for a “legitimate business reason,” which is largely based on the EEOC criteria. Applicants have a right to appeal a denial of employment.

If there is a violation of the Act, there may be fines, half of which are given to the complainant. Records will be maintained on the hiring of applicants with criminal records.