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Rules of Professional Conduct

Rule 9.1: Discrimination in Employment

A lawyer shall not discriminate against any individual in conditions of employment because of the individual’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, family responsibility, or physical handicap.


   [1] This provision is modeled after the D.C. Human Rights Act, D.C. Code § 2-1402.11 (2001), though in some respects is more limited in scope. There are also provisions of federal law that contain certain prohibitions on discrimination in employment. The Rule is not intended to create ethical obligations that exceed those imposed on a lawyer by applicable law.
   [2] The investigation and adjudication of discrimination claims may involve particular expertise of the kind found within the D.C. Office of Human Rights and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Such experience may involve, among other things, methods of analysis of statistical data regarding discrimination claims. These agencies also have, in appropriate circumstances, the power to award remedies to the victims of discrimination, such as reinstatement or back pay, which extend beyond the remedies that are available through the disciplinary process. Remedies available through the disciplinary process include such sanctions as disbarment, suspension, censure, and admonition, but do not extend to monetary awards or other remedies that could alter the employment status to take into account the impact of prior acts of discrimination.
   [3] If proceedings are pending before other organizations, such as the D.C. Office of Human Rights or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the processing of complaints by Disciplinary Counsel may be deferred or abated where there is substantial similarity between the complaint filed with Disciplinary Counsel and material allegations involved in such other proceedings. See §19(d) of Rule XI of the Rules Governing the District of Columbia Bar.