top of page
workplace discrimination 1.jpg

                             Workplace Discrimination


On June 30, 2022, Governor Newsom signed SB 189 which, effective July 1, 2022, changed the name of the department previously known as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to the Civil Rights Department (CRD). In addition, SB 189 changed the name of the Fair Employment and Housing Council to the Civil Rights Council (CRC).

In accordance with its statutory mandate to “eliminate discrimination” in California, CRD receives, investigates, conciliates, mediates, and prosecutes complaints of alleged violations of numerous civil rights laws, including the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) (Gov. Code § 12900 et seq.).


The First Steps:

If you feel you were the victim of discrimination, CRD is available to investigate and help settle your complaint. To begin this process, gather the information listed below and file an intake form in one of three ways:


If you decide to use the CRD investigation process, you will need to gather the following:

  • The specific facts and any records about the incident(s), including the name and contact information of the person or entity you believe harmed you (if known);

  • Copies of any documents or other evidence related to your complaint; and

  • The names and contact information of any witnesses (if known).


In employment cases, you must do this within three years of the date you were harmed. In most other cases, you must do this within one year of the date you were harmed. In employment cases only, you must obtain from CRD a Right-to-Sue notice before filing your own lawsuit in court. If you would prefer not to use the CRD investigation process and instead file your own lawsuit, you can obtain an immediate Right-To-Sue notice.


CRD will evaluate the allegations in the intake form and decide whether the laws that CRD enforces cover these allegations.

Understand that CRD can only investigate violations of certain civil rights laws. While many people believe they were treated unfairly, CRD can only accept cases if one of the laws it enforces may have been violated. If your complaint is not accepted for investigation, it is not because CRD does not believe you were treated unfairly. Rather it is because your complaint, if proven, would not violate the civil rights laws that CRD enforces.


If these laws cover your allegations, CRD will prepare a complaint form for your signature. When you return the signed complaint, it will be delivered to the person or entity that you believe discriminated against you (called the respondent).

In most cases, the filing of a complaint does not mean that CRD has already determined whether there is reasonable cause to believe any laws have been violated. Instead, it means that CRD has preliminarily determined that the laws that the department enforces cover the complaint’s parties and allegations.


The Next Steps:

Although CRD may provide legal services and advice for complainants who are seeking relief for alleged civil rights violations, the department independently investigates and assesses the facts and legal issues in each case. These investigations and assessments include, among other things, reviewing information and evidence from complainants, respondents, or other sources.


When a respondent answers a complaint, CRD reviews it with the complainant. As appropriate or required by law, CRD attempts to resolve complaints through the free dispute resolution services that that CRD offers to parties.

Unless a complaint has already been resolved, CRD uses the facts obtained through its investigation to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe that a law the department enforces has been violated. If not, the case is closed. If there is reasonable cause, CRD notifies the parties of this determination and may notify them that the department intends to file a lawsuit in court.


But before CRD files a lawsuit, it typically requires the parties to go to mediation. This mediation provides another opportunity to reach an agreement to resolve the dispute. If the case is not settled during this mediation, CRD may proceed with filing its lawsuit in a court.


Copyright Law Office of Stephen Fiegel – All rights reserved.

Nothing on this site is legal advice. All information is for educational purposes only. If you require legal advice, please contact an attorney in your specific jurisdiction. Do not act or refrain from acting based on what you read on this site. Viewing this site or communicating with Stephen Fiegel through this site does not create an attorney/client relationship.  Please review the full  “Terms of Use/Disclaimers/Legal Advertisement” page on this site for more information.

bottom of page