Facing discrimination in the workplace can be an extremely distressing experience. Whether you were sexually harassed at work or wrongfully terminated because your employer retaliated against you for taking a lawful leave, you may be thinking about how you can sue your employer. However, it is important to know that civil litigation related to employment discrimination can only occur once you have gone through particular steps required under both California state and federal law. In short, whether you plan to file a claim under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act or under a specific federal law such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), you need to obtain a “right to sue” notice.
In other words, you cannot immediately file a lawsuit as soon as you have been discriminated against. We will provide you with more information about how this process works, and what you need to move onto filing a civil lawsuit against an employer for discrimination in the workplace.
Obtaining a Right to Sue Notice from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act, generally speaking, provides greater protections to employees than does federal law. Accordingly, many employees in Riverside or the surrounding area who have faced employment discrimination choose to file a claim under California state law instead of under federal law. However, in order to file a lawsuit, a potential plaintiff first must obtain a right to sue notice from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
In order to obtain a right to sue notice, you must first file a claim with DFEH. To file a claim, you can begin the process by filling out a form either online or in print. The complaint must contain detailed information, including contact information for all parties. If you plan to file a lawsuit instead of having DFEH investigate your complaint, you should always work with a Southern California civil litigation attorney with experience handling employment discrimination lawsuits. Once you obtain a right to sue notice, you will have one year from that date to file your lawsuit.
Getting a Right to Sue Notice from the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
If you want to file a lawsuit under federal law instead of under California state law, you will also need to obtain a right to sue notice from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Unlike DFEH, the EEOC typically gives a potential plaintiff a Notice of Right to Sue once the EEOC investigates the alleged discrimination and closes its investigation. However, if a plaintiff wants to file a lawsuit sooner, it can request a Notice of Right to Sue from the EEOC office that is investigating the discrimination charge.
Accordingly, to have the right to sue, you must first file a discrimination claim with the EEOC.
Contact a Civil Litigation Attorney in Southern California
Whether you need assistance with an employment discrimination lawsuit or another civil litigation matter, an experienced Southern California civil litigation attorney at our firm can assist you. Contact Wagner Zemming ChristensenLLP for more information about filing a lawsuit.