District of Columbia--Laws Relating to Pregnancy



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Prohibitions against Pregnancy Discrimination

It is an unlawful employment practice to discriminate based on sex.Sex discrimination includes discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions. [1]

For the text of the statute, click here.

Pregnancy Accommodation

Employer shall make a reasonable effort to accommodate pregnant employees who request the accommodation. In addition, the employer shall not deny opportunities to the employee in need of reasonable accommodations; take an adverse action against an employee who requires an accommodation; require the employee to take an accommodation if the employee does not need the accommodation; or require the employee to take leave if a reasonable accommodation can be provided. The employer may require the employee to provide a certificate from a doctor when the employer requires a certificate for other temporary disabilities.

For the text of the statute, click here.

Pregnancy-related Disability Accommodation

Women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, related medical conditions, or breastfeeding shall be treated the same, including receipt of benefits under fringe benefit programs, as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work, and this requirement shall include that all employers must treat an employee temporarily unable to perform the functions of her job because of her pregnancy-related condition in the same manner as it treats other employees with temporary disabilities.[3]

For the text of the statute, click here.

Breastfeeding Rights


For all employers, discrimination on the basis of sex shall include discrimination on the basis of breastfeeding.[4]

For the text of the statute, click here.


An employer shall provide a reasonable amount of unpaid break time or allow her to use existing paid break time to accommodate an employee desiring to express breast milk for the employee's infant child. An employer shall not be required to provide break periods if it would create an undue hardship on the operations of the employer.

The employer must make reasonable efforts to provide a room, other than a bathroom or toilet stall, close to the work area, for an employee to express breast milk in private. The location may include a childcare facility close to the employee's work location.[5]

For the text of the statute, click here.

Family and Childcare Leave Laws

Employers with Twenty or more Employees – Pregnancy Leave

An employee is entitled to up to sixteen weeks of unpaid family leave during a 24-month period. Family leave may be taken for the birth, foster care placement, adoption of a child, or to care for the serious health condition of a child. Leave for birth or adoption must be taken within twelve months of birth or placement of the child. An employee may substitute any of the employee's accrued vacation leave or sick leave.[6]

For the text of the statute, click here.

All Employers – School Activity Leave

An employee who is a parent shall be entitled to a total of 24 unpaid hours leave during any 12 month period to attend or participate in a school-related event for his or her child. An employer may deny this use of leave only if it would disrupt the employer's business and make the achievement of production or service delivery unusually difficult. The employee may elect to use any paid family, vacation, personal, compensatory, or bank leave that has been provided by the employer.

An employee shall notify the employer at least 10 days in advance, unless the need to attend cannot be reasonably foreseen.[7]

For the text of the statute, click here.

Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment compensation shall not be denied to an individual who leaves his or her work to care for an ill or disabled dependent child (whether born to or placed for adoption with the individual).[8]

For the text of the statute, click here.

For the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, click here.

For the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, click here.

For further information on your pregnancy rights, contact Legal Momentum.

Copyright 2013 Legal Momentum

[1] D.C. Code § 2-1401.05

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] D.C. Code § 2-1402.82

[6] D.C. Code § 32-501

[7] D.C. Code § 32-1202

[8] D.C. Code § 51-110