Below is California Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s complaint process. Please read the process below.
http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Complaints_ComplaintProcess.htm (clicking this link will open a new window)
A complainant is the person filing the complaint. A respondent is the entity or person named in the complaint (employer, landlord, individual harasser, etc.).
- File a Pre-Complaint Inquiry online, by phone or by mail. A Pre-Complaint Inquiry can be filed by individuals, the Director of DFEH, or a community organization.
- Within 10 days of receipt of the Pre-Complaint Inquiry, an investigator will contact the complainant by telephone to conduct an intake interview.
- If a complaint is accepted for investigation, the investigator will draft the complaint and secure the complainant’s or the complainant’s representative signature on the complaint.
- The filing date is the date the signed complaint is received by the Department.
- The signed complaint is served on the respondent and may be dual-filed with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) if the matter falls within the jurisdiction of that agency. As a substantially equivalent agency, DFEH’s findings are usually accepted by EEOC and HUD.
- The respondent is required to answer the complaint and is given the opportunity to voluntarily resolve it. A no-fault resolution can be negotiated at any time during the complaint process.
- DFEH has the authority to issue subpoenas and interrogatories and to take depositions. The California courts enforce DFEH’s discovery efforts.
- If the investigation does not show a violation of the law, the DFEH will close the case.
- Before the DFEH issues a finding, voluntary dispute resolution through conciliation by the Enforcement Division or mediation by the Dispute Resolution Division are available free of charge to the parties.
- After the DFEH issues a merit finding, mandatory dispute resolution is conducted by the Dispute Resolution Division free of charge to the parties.
- If dispute resolution fails, the DFEH may pursue litigation.
The DFEH files the complaint in civil court. The DFEH prosecutes, but the Complainant is the Real Party in Interest.
- There is no limit on damages
- Instead of administrative fines, unlimited punitive damages may be awarded.
- The prevailing party, including the DFEH, may recover reasonable attorney’s fees, expert witness fees and costs.
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