Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), California employees have important protections against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the workplace. However, before pursuing legal action in court, it’s often necessary to exhaust administrative remedies.
Understanding Administrative Remedies
Administrative remedies refer to the procedures and mechanisms established by government agencies to address complaints of discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Under the FEHA, the primary administrative remedy is filing a complaint with California’s civil rights agency the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), whose name has recently been changed to the Civil Rights Department (CRD).
Importance of Exhausting Administrative Remedies
Exhausting administrative remedies is a crucial step before filing a lawsuit under the FEHA. Pursuant to California law, employees must file a complaint with the CRD within three years and obtain a right-to-sue letter before proceeding with a civil lawsuit. Failing to exhaust administrative remedies can result in the dismissal of your case.
Steps to Exhaust Administrative Remedies
  1. Contact an Employment Lawyer: Before filing a complaint with the CRD, consider consulting with employment lawyers who specialize in discrimination and harassment cases. They can evaluate your situation, advise you on your legal rights, and guide you through the administrative process.
  2. File an Administrative Complaint with the CRD: To initiate the administrative process, file a complaint with the CRD either online, by mail, or in person. Provide detailed information about the alleged discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, including dates, witnesses, and any relevant evidence.
  3. Obtain a Right-to-Sue Letter: If the CRD concludes its investigation and does not resolve the matter, or at the request of the employee, the CRD will issue the employee a right-to-sue letter. This letter grants the employee permission to file a lawsuit in court within one year of its issuance.
Role of Employment Lawyers:
  1. Legal Guidance: Employment lawyers can provide crucial legal guidance throughout the administrative process, ensuring that you meet all requirements and deadlines.
  2. Advocacy: Lawyers can advocate on your behalf during the CRD investigation, presenting evidence, and arguments to support your claims.
  3. Negotiation and Settlement: Lawyers can negotiate with your employer to reach a favorable settlement, protecting your rights and interests.
Exhausting administrative remedies under the FEHA is a necessary step in pursuing legal action for workplace discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. By understanding the process and seeking guidance from employment lawyers, you can navigate this complex process effectively and protect your rights. Don’t hesitate to consult with experienced employment lawyers to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the administrative process.
Contact Akopyan Law Firm, A.P.C. when you need employment lawyers in Los Angeles. In addition to Los Angeles, We serve Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Bakersfield, and Ventura. Please see our website and our case results to see what we have achieved for clients in Southern California. We offer a complimentary case evaluation, so do not hesitate to contact us.