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California’s Fair Employment & Housing Act (“FEHA”) – Statute of Limitations

September 7, 2015

It’s important for aggrieved employees to know that there are time deadlines that affect their ability to enforce their legal rights under California’s Fair Employment & Housing Act (“FEHA”):

1) If the aggrieved employee elects to bring a lawsuit to enforce his or her rights under FEHA, then he or she must file suit within 1 year after the Department of Fair Housing & Employment (“DFEH”) issues the right-to-sue notice [this rule is subject to certain tolling provisions under Cal. Govt. Code § 12965(d)].

2) If the aggrieved employee elects to file a complaint with the DFEH, it must be filed within 1 year after the employer’s alleged unlawful conduct took place. However, this 1 year rule may be extended by an additional 90 days, if the employee finds out about the employer’s unlawful conduct after the 1 year period.

3) For continuing acts of discrimination in the workplace, the last day to file the DFEH complaint is 1 year after the most recent discriminatory act by the employer. If the employee files the DFEH complaint within 1 year of the most recent discriminatory act, relief may be possible for the entire course of the employer’s unlawful conduct.

4) In 2008, the California Supreme Court held that if an employee elects to seek an internal administrative remedy with their employer, the running of the limitations period is tolled automatically during the time consumed by the administrative proceeding.

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