Code of the District of Columbia

§ 2–223.03. Enforcement.

(a) An employee aggrieved by a violation of § 2-223.02 may bring a civil action before a court or a jury in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia seeking relief and damages, including but not limited to injunction, reinstatement to the same position held before the prohibited personnel action or to an equivalent position, and reinstatement of the employee’s seniority rights, restoration of lost benefits, back pay and interest on back pay, compensatory damages, reasonable costs, and attorney fees. A civil action shall be filed within 3 years after a violation occurs or within one year after the employee first becomes aware of the violation, whichever occurs first.

(a-1) A government contractor aggrieved by a violation of § 2-223.02(b) may bring a civil action before a court or a jury in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia seeking relief and damages, including an injunction, compensatory damages, reasonable costs, and attorney fees. A civil action shall be filed within 2 years after a violation occurs or within one year after the contractor first becomes aware of the violation, whichever occurs first.

(b) In a civil action or administrative proceeding, once it has been demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that an activity proscribed by § 2-223.02 was a contributing factor in the alleged prohibited personnel action against an employee, the burden of proof shall be on the employing District instrumentality or contractor, or the person or entity that employed the security officer, to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the alleged action would have occurred for legitimate, independent reasons even if the employee had not engaged in activities protected by this section.

(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a violation of § 2-223.02 constitutes a complete affirmative defense for a whistleblower to a prohibited personnel action in an administrative review, challenge, or adjudication of that action.

(d) An employee who prevails in a civil action at the trial level shall be granted the equitable relief provided in the decision effective upon the date of the decision, absent a stay.


(Oct. 7, 1998, D.C. Law 12-160, § 204, 45 DCR 5147; Nov. 16, 2006, D.C. Law 16-187, § 201(b), 53 DCR 6722; Mar. 11, 2010, D.C. Law 18-117, § 3(c), 57 DCR 896.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1177.3.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-223.05.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-187, in subsec. (b), substituted “District instrumentality, a District government contractor, or a person who or entity that employs security officers” for “District instrumentality or by a District government contractor”.

D.C. Law 18-117, in subsec. (a), substituted “A civil action shall be filed within 3 years after a violation occurs or within one year after the employee first becomes aware of the violation, whichever occurs first” for “A civil action shall be filed within 1 year after a violation occurs or within 1 year after the employee first becomes aware of the violation”; and added subsec. (a-1).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary addition of subchapter, see note to § 2-223.01.