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California Anti-Discrimination Law: The Fair Employment and Housing Act

One area where people unfortunately often find their rights violated is fair employment and housing practices. California's Fair Employment and Housing Act, or FEHA, protects people from discrimination on a number of grounds. Generally, these include sex, race/ethnicity, national origin or ancestry, religion, disability, age, and sexual orientation, identity, or expression. The full text of FEHA is available at the website of the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment (DFEH), which is the state department in charge of FEHA regulations and governmental enforcement action. Sections 12940 et seq. ("Unlawful Practices, Generally") set out the prohibited discriminatory bases and actions.

The law also prohibits harassment on any of the above protected grounds, as well as retaliation for complaining about harassment or discrimination.

If you have been discriminated against, it is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible. You will generally need to file a complaint with the DFEH within one year. If you wish to proceed with a lawsuit it is necessary to have a DFEH complaint on record. Click here for the DFEH website with more information on the complaint process. You can file a complaint yourself, but an attorney may be able to walk you through the process and ensure that you preserve all possible causes of action. The DFEH complaint may limit the claims you can bring in court. An attorney can also review the facts and law relating to your specific situation and provide advice about how best to proceed.

Click here to contact Andrew T. Cooledge, Esq., a California attorney with experience in labor and employment law.

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