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District of Columbia - Workplace Safety During COVID-19

On February 26, 2021, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser signed emergency legislation (B 58) addressing workplace protections by:

  • Requiring employers to adopt social distancing and workplace protection policies to prevent transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace, in accordance with all applicable Mayor’s Orders.
  • Permitting employers to require employees to report a positive test for an active COVID-19 infection to them but prohibits the employer from disclosing their identity, except to the Department of Health or as otherwise required by law (e.g., employers must cooperate with contact tracers).
  • Prohibiting adverse employment action against an employee for several actions, including complying with or attempting to prevent a violation of a Mayor’s Order, raising concerns about workplace safety, or testing positive for COVID-19. However, employers may prohibit employees from entering the workplace if they test positive for, or have been recently exposed to, COVID-19 and until they are no longer experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and their mandated quarantine is over or they were medically cleared to return.  
  • Prohibiting adverse employment action against an employee who tested positive for COVID-19, was exposed to the virus, needs to quarantine, has symptoms, or is caring for someone who is sick.
  • Prohibiting employers from stopping an employee from using personal protective equipment and from requiring an employee to sign an agreement that would limit or prevent them from disclosing information about the employer’s workplace health practices, safety practices, or hazards related to COVID-19.
  • Requiring employers to report to the Mayor when an employee gets COVID-19:
    • During and within the scope of their employment; or
    • Whose contact with others during and within the scope of their employment makes it probable that they will contract COVID-19.

The Mayor’s Office will release a poster that summarizes these requirements and employers must post it. In the meantime, the following posters are available:

The law took effect February 26, 2021 and expires May 27, 2021.