The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is a state law that protects employees from harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in the workplace. It also prohibits housing discrimination, and applies to almost all public and private employers, labor organizations, and employment agencies. As the statute was recently updated at the beginning of 2020, here’s a refresher on the basics of FEHA and how it may affect you.

What is FEHA?

The Fair Employment and Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of a variety of personal, protected characteristics. These protections include:

  • Age
  • Cultural background
  • Ethnicity
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Medical conditions
  • Military or veteran status
  • Pregnancy
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

FEHA also protects individuals from retaliation if they file a complaint, assist another in making a complaint, or oppose any type of workplace action that violates this law.

How do I file a FEHA claim? The statute of limitations

If you’re an employee who’s experienced harassment, discrimination, or retaliation here in Los Angeles or across California, you must follow a process to file a claim or obtain the “Right-To-Sue.” Up until 2020, complainants had only one year from the date the most recent act occurred to file their claim. However, the new legislation extends this limit to three years. This amendment, called AB 9, was introduced by Assemblyperson Eloise Reyes in response to the #MeToo movement. Extending the statute of limitations gives victims of harassment a longer period in which to understand their rights and come forward.

If you believe you have a valid FEHA case, you must file a claim with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). With employment cases, you have three years. With tenant/landlord cases, you have one year. The DFEH can investigate and attempt to mediate your claim, or if you plan to sue your employer in court, you can get a Right-To-Sue notice, which you can obtain online.

Note: If you don’t have this Right-To-Sue notice before proceeding with a lawsuit, you may not be able to bring a valid case to court, so ensure you talk to an experienced attorney first.

According to the DFEH, if you are preparing to request for a Right-To-Sue, you should have the following information at hand:

  • Contact information and mailing address for the employer or person against which you’re filing the complaint.
  • Contact information and mailing addresses for any additional individuals against whom you’re filing complaints.
  • Contact information and mailing address for the “Agent of Service,” who is the person that should be notified you’ve filed a complaint against them. If you don’t know the name of the person or entity who should receive this copy, you can provide the contact information of human resources, or the information for the owner/president of the company.

The Los Angeles employment attorneys at McNicholas & McNicholas LLP advocate for individuals who’ve suffered discrimination in the workplace. We protect your state and federal rights, and advocate for you when you’re a victim of inequality on the job. Contact us today to set up a consultation and find out how we can assist you. Call us at 310-474-1582 or complete our contact form.