California provides numerous statutory protections for many types of workplace discrimination. The California labor code offers workers strong protection against many types of discrimination. If you have been treated unfairly because of your race, sex, disability or membership in a protected class, the first step towards remedying discrimination by your employer often involves filing a claim with the appropriate governmental agency. If you fail to timely and accurately submit the governmental claim, you will be deemed to have failed to exhaust your administrative remedies and precluded from pursuing a civil action as to certain discrimination claims. In light of the risks involved in not properly submitting your claim, it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced employee rights attorney such as the Perrin Law Group as soon as possible. The balance of this article will discuss the first steps involved in pursuing a discrimination claim.
Where Should I File My Workplace Discrimination Claim?
Technically, there are two governmental agencies with whom to file your claim. you Discrimination claims may be filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). These two agencies have a work-sharing agreement, which means that claims are processed cooperatively. In reality, the majority of claims are filed with the DFEH as California’s discrimination laws are far more expansive than the federal counterparts.For example, no federal law expressly prohibits workplace discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community — whereas FEHA, pursuant to California Government Code §12940(a) specifically lists sexual orientation as an expressly prohibited form of discrimination
How Long Do I Have to File A Claim?
Unless the discriminatory conduct is considered to be continuing, an employee normally has one year from the unlawful conduct to file a claim with the DFEH. However, it is a general rule that a victim of discrimination should not wait until the statutory deadline is close to expiring. Not only will this help memories of any discriminatory events be fresher in your mind as well as those of potential witnesses, it can also help ensure that you meet all deadlines from all jurisdictions. The federal limit to file a complaint is normally 180 days. However, the deadline is extended to 300 days if a state law additionally enforces the prohibited form of discrimination.
What About a Civil Lawsuit?
A formal complaint must be filed with the EEOC or the DFEH before a civil lawsuit can take place in most discrimination claims. Although you may bring a discrimination claim in a cause of action for tortious discharge in violation of public policy, the recovery of attorneys fees is not available as they are in a FEHA discrimination claim. Lastly, you must file a civil action for discrimination under FEHA within one year from the date that the DFEH sends notice that your case has been closed.
Wondering if You Have Grounds for A Discrimination Lawsuit? Don’t delay — take the Perrin Law Group Case Questionnaire for a quick overview of your case, or give us a call for a free analysis of your case.