FEHA claims and hearings usually deal with sexual harassment and other discrimination suits in California.
FEHA or the Fair Employment and Housing Act, is a statute of California which provides protection from employment discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, marital status, sex, age and medical condition.
It is a powerful statute that is often used in conjunction with existing federal discrimination laws.
Although it is mostly the same as its federal counterparts, it provides discrimination and harassment victims better avenues in pursuing their claim.
Aside from providing better avenues, it also provides stiffer penalties or punishments that are often not included in the federal discrimination laws.
Some of those are the imposition of attorney fee awards and reimbursement of case related costs.
The FEHA, together with California state laws, also allow the award of punitive damages if the victims are able to prove that corporate directors, officers or managers committed acts of discrimination and harassment, or if they have cultivated a culture where discrimination and harassment is allowed.
Filing a FEHA Claim
Whether youre are seeking to initiate an investigation or filing a lawsuit for harassment or discrimination, the process usually starts with the victim filing a complaint to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is the governing body that enforces the FEHA laws.
The statute of limitation for this type of claim is one year from the incident of harassment or discrimination.
The California Supreme Court though, gave consideration to employees who try to resolve the discrimination issue within the internal grievance and remedy system of the company before filing a FEHA complaint.
The decision was made to remove the confusion on whether the employee should consider resolving the issue internally or just skip it altogether and just file a FEHA complaint to avoid going past the statute of limitation.
Getting a Lawyer
Pursuing a FEHA claim can be very complicated. Choosing whether you would file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Act can be confusing.
Filing to either can be useful in investigating discrimination and harassment charges to alert the employer that they should review their policies and do something to curb the problem
If it is a case of wrongful termination though, it would be somewhat useless to report to either agency.
Neither agency has the power to reinstate you to your job or make the employers pay for their unlawful conduct.
Most employment law attorneys advise their clients to use the right to sue system, where you forego the investigation, and move on to filing a civil liability suit against the employer.
This would prove to be a faster route to getting a conclusion on your claim.