How Do I File An Employment Discrimination Lawsuit In California
Before you can file a lawsuit against an employer for employment discrimination in California, you generally have to first file your complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing . An employee or applicant is usually required to exhaust all administrative remedies first. This may mean the employee has to go through the DFEH complaint process before they can file a lawsuit.1
You can request an immediate right to sue notice, without having to go through a complete DFEH or EEOC investigation. However, if you seek an immediate right to sue notice, your complaint will not be investigated by DFEH. Alternatively, you may also wait until the DFEH dismisses your case or finds no violation before taking your case to court.2
According to the DFEH, proceeding directly to court without an investigation by the DFEH is only advisable if you have an attorney. Your attorney can obtain a right to sue notice and file your case in California Superior Court, in the county where the discrimination occurred, or another relevant county.3
Once you file the lawsuit, the complaint will be served upon your employer and anyone else named in the lawsuit as a defendant. The defendants will respond to the complaint with a formal answer responding to the allegations, and the case may proceed through litigation.
Protected Status In California
Both state and federal anti-discrimination laws define several characteristics that count as a protected status. Specifically, Californias anti-discrimination laws protect employees from discrimination based on their
- Ancestry or national origin, or
In California, sex includes discrimination based on someones biological sex as well as certain related conditions, such as pregnancy. As a result, if an employer fires a woman because of her pregnancy, she may file a discrimination lawsuit against the employer.
You Have The Right To Be Treated Fairly As A Veteran Or Service Member
Two Federal laws prohibit discrimination in employment based on your status as a veteran or service member. Under one law, youre protected from discrimination based on your prior service in the uniformed services current service in the uniformed services or intent to join the uniformed services. This is regardless of whether your employer is a private employer, the Federal Government, a state government, or local government. You may also be protected against discrimination under Federal law if you are an employee of a Federal contractor or subcontractor and meet the definition of a protected veteran. Additionally, under both laws, your employer is also prohibited from discriminating against you because of your attempt to enforce your rights or someone elses rights. This means your employer may not take any adverse action against you because of your status as a veteran or service member or because you have attempted to enforce your rights, or someone elses rights, as a veteran or service member.
For example, your current or any future employer cannot:
- terminate you,
- fail to hire you,
- fail to reemploy you,
- or fail to give you benefits that others got either while you were at work or while you were deployed
because you are a veteran or service member.
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Can I Sue The President
Created by FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors
No, you cannot sue a current President of the United States for just anything. They are immune from liability in a personal capacity when acting within their executive power or when completing official acts.
You can sue a former or current president for criminal charges that occurred while they were in office, whether the acts were official or unofficial. This happened in 2020 when President Donald Trump was denied absolute immunity for a state criminal subpoena.
Before or after someone becomes president, they are subject to the same laws that apply to all other members of our society.
Protect Your Employment Rights During Military Service
You should be able to serve our country in the armed forces without worrying about holding on to your job back home.
As a member of the military, you have special rights under employment lawsomething many service members dont realizethat protect your position when youre on active duty.
You dont have to quit and try to find a new job when you get back.
Your employer is required under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act to return you to an equivalent job.
If your employer violates this law, you could make a legal claim to get your job back, collect lost wages or get a cash settlement.
The attorneys at Horenstein, Nicholson & Blumenthal can help you protect your career and your future.
Were proud to help people from Ohio who give to their country through service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and the National Guard.
Our law firms purpose is living up to the words Helping me, thats HNB.
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Your Civil Rights At Va
- Race, color, or national origin
For example, a VA program can’t deny you services or benefits simply because of one of these factors. And staff must make a reasonable effort to provide free aids and services to help you communicate effectively. This includes aids like large-print documents or services like an interpreter.
You have these rights in any VA program and in any program that receives VA funding.
Types Of Employment Discrimination
Employment discrimination comes in many forms. While discrimination ultimately depends on many different factors, which differ from case to case, some common forms of employment discrimination include:
- Discrimination based on physical, mental, or cognitive disability
- Discrimination based on age, race, or any other protected status
- Denial of earned pay
- Language discrimination and
- Reduction in benefits.
Even with an understanding of Californias protected classes, employment discrimination is not always obvious. Accordingly, it is important to consult with discrimination attorneys even if you arent sure. They will be familiar with patterns of discrimination and can advise you about your situation.
What Can I Do If I Believe That My Rights Under Feha Have Been Violated
Administrative Relief: A person who wishes to make a claim under the FEHA must first exhaust their administrative remedies by filing a claim against the employer with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing within one year of the alleged discriminatory practice. The DFEH will then investigate your claim to determine if it wishes to proceed against your employer.
Right to Sue in Court: Upon filing a complaint with the DFEH, a person who wishes to proceed upon their FEHA claim in court may do so, but only upon receiving a right to sue notice. A right to sue notice may be requested at the time of filing a complaint with the DFEH alternatively, one may wish to wait for the resolution of the DFEH investigation, at which point the DFEH will issue a right to sue notice and the claimant can pursuit their claim in court at this time.
Am I Still Covered By My Employers Health Insurance While On Military Duty
Your employer is required to continue your health insurance for 30 days while you are on military duty. After 30 days, a federal law known as COBRA requires your employer to continue your health insurance coverage for up to 36 months but can require that you pay up to 102% of its full premium under the plan.
If you are on active duty for more than 30 days, you and your dependents should be covered by military health care. For more information on these programs contact your military unit.
Finally, another law known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act may give you and your family rights to enroll in another group health plan such as your spouses employers group health plan. You have this opportunity to enroll regardless of the other plans otherwise applicable enrollment periods. To qualify, you must request enrollment in the other plan within 30 days of losing eligibility for coverage under your current employers plan. After that special enrollment is requested, you have to be covered in the other plan no later than the first day of the first month following your request for enrollment. If you will be on active duty more than 30 days in your current plan, coverage in another plan through special enrollment may be cheaper than your COBRA continuation coverage because the other employer often pays a part of the premium.
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Time Limits For Reemployment
Service members must return to work within a certain window of time in order to maintain their USERRA protections. That time period is based on the length of their service obligation, as described below:
- 30 or Fewer Days of Service – Beginning of first work period after completion of active duty, plus time to return home and an 8-hour rest period
- 31 to 180 Days of Service – Employee must apply for reemployment within 14 days of completing active duty service
- 181 or More Days of Service – Employee must apply for reemployment within 90 days after active duty discharge
- Injury or Illness Connected to Military Service – Individuals who are hospitalized or convalescing must report to their employers within two years of active duty discharge and employers must make reasonable accommodations for any disability or impairment.
What Remedies Do I Have If My Employer Violates My Rights Under Userra
You may file a complaint with the Department of Labor or file a court action directly. If your employer violated USERRA, it may be liable for various damages, including, lost wages, attorney fees, expert witness fees and other costs incurred from litigation. USERRA has no statute of limitations , but if you intend to sue your employer for a violation of USERRA, you should do so as soon as possible to preserve the evidence in the case that may be helpful to you.
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Speak With Our California Discrimination Attorneys
For more than 20 years, the Farzam Law Firm has served members of the Los Angeles community, representing clients in various employment law cases. From discrimination to harassment to workers compensation, our experienced trial attorneys have the skills necessary to get the compensation you deserve.
To see how we can help you, contact us today online or by phone at 310-226-6890 to schedule a free consultation.
Review Your Case And The Ftca With A Lawyer
To ensure that your claim is possible, review your claim and the FTCA with a personal injury lawyer.
At our firm, we assist individuals and families with personal injury, wrongful death, and property damage claims against federal, state, county and city governments.
We represent clients with claims stemming from:
- Car accidents caused by poorly designed roads, bad intersections, etc.
- Accidents and injuries occurring at state, county, or city parks
- Accidents occurring in school zones
- Damage to property caused by government activities
- Motor vehicle accidents involving government employees and government-owned vehicles
- Injuries occurring on government-owned property or in government buildings or facilities
- Accidents caused by road construction elements, including improper signage, inadequate warnings of construction, unsafe operation of construction machinery, and more
- Injuries caused by exposure to toxic substances on government-owned property or released from government-owned facilities
Claims against the federal, state or local government adhere to special laws permitting citizens to sue the government for damages caused by the negligent party or otherwise wrongful conduct of government agencies or employees.
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How Do I Know If I Was Discriminated Against
Most workplace discrimination is subtle. Employers are aware that discrimination could lead to a lawsuit and take steps to make sure they dont put anything in writing or say anything obvious to the employer or applicant. However, there may be signs of discrimination.
Proof of employment discrimination could involve showing that certain groups of employees are treated differently from other employees. It could also include sudden changes in attitude towards an employee when an employer finds out an employee is part of a protected group. These signs of possible discrimination may involve:
- Sudden changes in job performance reviews
- Exclusion from meetings and events
- Change in work duties or workload increases
- Reduced hours or reduced pay
- Different rule enforcement involving workers of different backgrounds
- Failure of management to put a stop to racist or sexist jokes in the workplace
- Making fun of an individuals accent or sexual orientation
- Failing to consider applicants with ethnic-sounding names
Employers who are in the same protected class as the employee can still discriminate. For example, an African-American boss can discriminate against an African-American employee or applicant. A female employer can discriminate against a female applicant because of her gender.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act protects certain classes of people
Do I Have To File A Complaint With Hr First
If an employer refused to hire an applicant for discriminatory reasons, or an employer discriminates against an employee, there may be no need to go to human resources before filing a discrimination complaint. However, depending on the type of discrimination or harassment involved, it may be necessary or recommended to direct a complaint to a supervisor or human resources office before filing a lawsuit.
When workplace harassment involves a co-worker, or other non-supervisor, the employer may only be liable if the employer was negligent. This means that the employer must:
- Know or should have known that harassment was occurring and
- The employer failed to take immediate and appropriate corrective action.9
The employees harassment lawsuit will depend on whether the employer took proper measures to prevent harassment in the workplace and how the employer responded to complaints or signs of workplace harassment.
Employers must provide reasonable accommodation for applicants and employees who are unable to perform the essential functions of the job because of a medical condition, disability, or pregnancy.10
Employers must also engage in a timely, good-faith interactive process with employees in need of a reasonable accommodation. This is to determine whether a reasonable accommodation would allow the applicant or employee to complete the necessary functions to perform the job.11
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Uniformed Services Employment And Reemployment Rights Act
USERRA protects the job rights of individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily leave employment positions to undertake military service. This includes National Guard members and reservists. USERRA protections fall under 3 broad categories:
- Reemployment rights: You have the right to reemployment in your civilian job as long as certain conditions are met, including proper notice to your employer prior to service and prompt return to your civilian position after service is complete.
- Protections from Discrimination & Retaliation: Affiliation with uniformed services cannot prevent you from employment, reemployment, promotion, retention, or other employment benefits.
- Health Insurance Protection: You have the right to elect to continue your existing employer-based health plan coverage for you and your dependents for up to 24 months while in the military or to be reinstated to that health plan upon return.
Can Civilians Sue The National Guard
A civilian has the right to sue the military under the FTCA for negligence. The right extends to veterans and military dependents. The Feres Doctrine is from a 1950 U.S. Supreme Court case in which the court ruled that active-duty service members are barred from filing negligence claims against the government.
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Should I File An Administrative Claim Myself
It is usually better if you work with a law firm to present your administrative claim because there are many details of the law that a non-lawyer may not be aware of in presenting an administrative claim. You can lose valuable time correcting mistakes, or may use up one of the two chances that you have to present a claim administratively. Your safest bet is to consult with a law firm experienced in handling FTCA cases and work with them to present the best administrative claim possible. Dont delay because the more time your law firm has to review the file and prepare your claim before the statute of limitations expires, the better.
National Defense Authorization Act 2020
The National Defense Authorization Act, which was signed into law in December 2019, allows active-duty military members and their family members to file a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim against negligent military medical providers. Dependents and retired members of the military can also file claims.
Historically, active-duty military members were not permitted to file such claims under the Feres doctrine, which originated from a 1950 Supreme Court decision that ruled active-duty military personnel could not hold the government liable for injuries they sustained during service.
The National Defense Authorization Act now allows active-duty military service members to hold the government liable for medical malpractice. However, there are a couple of key limitations.
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Considerations When Filing A Claim Against The Government
Knowing how to sue a county government agency or state government agency requires an understanding of local statues, exemptions, and limitations. For example, local and state government employees in Illinois are protected under the 745 ILCS civil immunities act. This is one of the many reasons why it is recommended you work with an experienced attorney in your state. He or she can help submit your notice of claim, meet time limitations, and ensure your case is as strong as possible. Despite these restrictions, taking legal action against government agencies and employees who have caused harm is important. Not only does it increase your chances of earning fair compensation for your damages, it can help others who have been wronged while also increasing government accountability. In cases where a government agency or its employees caused harm to multiple people, a class action lawsuit* could be appropriate. Its also crucial that you file your claim in a timely manner. As mentioned earlier, FTCA claims must be filed within two years of the incident or accident. The agency then has six months to admit or deny your claim. After the agency responds, you have six months to file a lawsuit or accept their ruling. When dealing with state government or district courts, these timelines might be different.