How Can Employees File a Complaint with California’s DFEH?
How Can Employees File a Complaint with California’s DFEH?

How Can Employees File a Complaint with California’s DFEH?

Employees in California are entitled to a safe and respectful work environment. Unfortunately, discrimination, harassment and retaliation can still occur. Speaking out against such injustices is crucial, not only for personal well-being but also for fostering a more equitable workplace. At Minnis & Smallets LLP, we are committed to guiding employees through the legal process of filing a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), ensuring their rights are protected every step of the way.

Understanding the Importance of Filing a Complaint

Filing a complaint against unlawful employment practices is a significant step toward seeking justice and creating change. Whether an employee is facing discrimination based on race, gender, age or any other protected characteristic, taking legal action is essential. An experienced attorney can help navigate this complex landscape, providing personalized support to effectively bolster the case.

Determining If An Employee Has a Valid Claim

Before filing a complaint, it is crucial to evaluate whether the situation qualifies under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The employer must have at least five employees, act as an agent of a covered employer or be a governmental entity. Furthermore, the employer’s actions must constitute unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation.

If the claim is valid, employees will consult with an attorney to decide how to proceed with their complaint. Employees may file with California’s DFEH, which has the power to issue subpoenas, compel evidence and work towards eliminating unlawful practices.

Completing the Intake Interview

Upon submitting the intake form, the DFEH will schedule an interview to assess the details of the complaint. During this interview, a DFEH investigator will inquire about the facts and evidence supporting the case. It is vital to provide all relevant documentation and cooperate fully, as this determines if the complaint will proceed to a formal investigation.

The DFEH Investigation Process

If the DFEH accepts the complaint, they will prepare a formal complaint form for the employee to sign. The department will then notify the employer, and the investigation will commence. The DFEH has several tools at its disposal to facilitate resolution, including:

  • Subpoena Power: Compelling employers to produce evidence or testimony.
  • Written Interrogatories: Forcing employers to answer detailed questions.
  • Mediation and Settlement: Working with both parties to eliminate unlawful practices and reach amicable solutions.
  • Court Action: Pursuing legal action if necessary.

Remedies Offered by the DFEH

The DFEH can implement various remedies if the complaint is successful:

  • Reinstatement: Returning the employee to their previous position if they were wrongfully terminated.
  • Compensation: Awarding back pay, front pay and damages for emotional distress.
  • Policy Changes: Enforcing changes within the company to prevent future violations.

Taking Action with Minnis & Smallets LLP

Facing discrimination, harassment or retaliation in the workplace can be daunting, but employees do not have to navigate it alone. At Minnis & Smallets LLP, we stand by our clients, offering tailored legal strategies and unwavering support. If an employee believes their rights have been violated, do not hesitate to take action. Contact us today for a case evaluation.

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