Prohibited Employment Practices

The Fair Employment and Housing Act specifies:

  • Prohibits discrimination in all aspects of employment including hiring, termination and terms and conditions.
  • Prohibits harassment of employees or applicants and requires employers to take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment from occurring.
  • Requires that all employers provide information to each of their employees describing the forms of sexual harassment, its illegality, the internal and external complaint processes and legal remedies.
  • Requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees or job applicants with disabilities in order to enable them to perform the essential functions of the job.
  • Requires employers to provide leaves of up to four months to employees disabled because of pregnancy or childbirth.
  • Requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations requested by an employee, with the advice of her health care provider, related to her pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
  • Requires employers of 50 or more persons in a 75 mile radius to allow eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks leave in a 12-month period for the birth of a child, the placement of a child for adoption or foster care, for an employee's own serious health condition, or to care for a parent, spouse, or child with a serious health condition. (Employers are required to post a notice informing employees of their family and medical leave rights.)
  • Requires employment agencies to serve all applicants equally; to refuse discriminatory job orders; to refrain from prohibited pre-employment inquiries or advertising.
  • Prohibits discrimination by unions in membership or employment referrals.
  • Prohibits retaliation against any person who has filed a complaint with the Department, participated in a Department investigation or opposed any activity prohibited by the Act.

The law provides for a variety of remedies, which may include:

  • Hiring
  • Back Pay
  • Promotion
  • Reinstatement
  • Cease and Desist Orders
  • Damages for Emotional Distress
  • Reasonable Attorneys Fees and Costs
  • Expert Witness Fees
  • Administrative Fines and Court Ordered Punitive Damages

Persons who believe they have experienced employment discrimination may file a DFEH complaint. Complaints must be filed within one year from the date of the alleged discrimination.

Persons wishing to file a lawsuit directly in court mustobtain a "Right-to-Sue" notice from DFEH.