File a complaint

The first step in filing a complaint with DFEH is to fill out a form called a “pre-complaint inquiry.” The submission of this form initiates an intake interview with a department representative to determine whether a formal complaint will be accepted for investigation.

You can file a Pre-Complaint Inquiry online or get a printed form and send it to the DFEH, via email or U.S. Mail, for processing. Here are the steps for each option:

  • File a complaint online
    To fill out the form online you need to create a free account in our interactive service, called Houdini. When you begin the process for the first time, you will see a dialog box with directions on how to open your account. Start by opening the Houdini portal here.
  • File a complaint using a printed form
    Download a copy of a blank “pre-complaint inquiry” using the table below. Chose the form that matches your type of complaint. Should you have more than one type of complaint, complete a Pre-Complaint Inquiry form for each type. Fill it out and return to DFEH using either email or the post office. Mail to our headquarters address.
    2218 Kausen Drive, Suite 100
    Elk Grove, CA 95758

    Pre-complaint inquiry form Description
    Employment Employment discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation
    Housing Housing discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation
    Business Establishment Discrimination in services by a business such as a hotel, restaurant or a store
    Disabilities Discrimination in services or denied access with guide, signal, or service dog
    Hate Violence Intimidation or act(s) of hate violence
    Human Trafficking Human trafficking pre-complaint inquiry
    Sexual Harassment Training Complaint Failure to comply with sexual harassment training and education requirements
    State Contractors State contract nondiscrimination requirement complaint form
    Recipients of State Funding – Individual Individual Discrimination by State-operated, funded, or financially-assisted entity
    Recipients of State Funding – Agency Complaint form for State Agencies – Discrimination by State-funded or financially assisted programs

“Right-to-sue” forms needed for employment discrimination lawsuits

You may file your own lawsuit for employment discrimination in court rather than using the DFEH investigation process. This is advisable only if you have an attorney. Also note that if you receive a right-to-sue notice, your complaint will not be investigated by DFEH even if you later decide not to file a lawsuit.

To proceed in court you are first required to file a complaint to secure a right to sue notice. You may file an online complaint or submit a printed complaint to the Department for processing. Here are the steps for each option:

Online form
To fill out the form online you need to create a free account in our interactive service, called Houdini. When you begin the process for the first time, you will see a dialog box with directions on how to open your account. Start by opening the Houdini portal. From then on communications between you and the department will be through Houdini.

Printed form
Download a print copy of the form. Fill it out and return to DFEH using either email or the post office. Mail to our headquarters address.

2218 Kausen Drive, Suite 100
Elk Grove, CA 95758

Get in touch with DFEH

For general information, get in touch with us:

  • Call the Communication Center at (800) 884-1684.
  • If you are deaf or hard of hearing, please call 800-884-1684 or TTY at (800) 700-2320.
  • Email – contact.center@dfeh.ca.gov

Accessibility information

If you need help accessing our information because you have a disability, please contact us to arrange an accommodation:

For a translation

DFEH assists anyone who needs a translation into his or her native language: