Legal Records and Reports

California enacted civil rights laws in 1959 to prohibit discrimination in employment and housing based on a person’s race, religion, national origin and ancestry. In addition to the Fair Employment Practices Act (FEHA), the Unruh Civil Rights Act also passed that year prohibiting discrimination by business establishments. In the decades since, a number of additional state antidiscrimination laws have passed. They expanded the original act’s list of protected classes to include as many as 18 characteristics such as sex and disability. In addition, sexual harassment and retaliation now are prohibited actions. California’s civil rights laws were consolidated in 1980 under the jurisdiction of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which is now the largest civil rights agency in the country. It is part of the state’s Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.


Laws and Regulations

The California Code of Regulations Title 2 [Administration] has the exact language that describes DFEH’s authority and responsibilities.

Links for laws and regulations will navigate to the California State Legislature site.

Fair Employment and Housing Act

Government Code, Title 2, Division 3, Part 2.8

FEHA Regulations

View the amendments in tracked changes that became effective April 1, 2016 (PDF) and are reflected below.

California Code of Regulations, Title 2 Administration, Division 4.1 Department of Fair Employment and Housing

Chapter 5. Fair Employment and Housing Council

Subchapter 1. Administration

Subchapter 2. Discrimination in Employment

Subchapter 5. Contractor Nondiscrimination and Compliance

Subchapter 6. Nondiscrimination in State-Supported Programs and Activities

Subchapter 7. Discrimination in Housing

Department’s Procedural Regulations

California Code of Regulations, Title 2, Division 4.1, Chapter 1

Chapter 1. Procedures of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (§§ 10000-10001)

Chapter 2. Conflict of Interest Code (§ 10500)

California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

Unruh Civil Rights Act (Requires business establishments to provide equal accommodations)

Civil Code, Division I, Part 2

Ralph Civil Rights Act (Prohibits hate violence or the threat of hate violence)

Civil Code, Division I, Part 2

Civil Code Section 51.9 (Prohibits sexual harassment in business, service, or professional contexts outside of traditional employment relationships)

Civil Code, Division I, Part 2

Disabled Persons Act

Civil Code, Division I, Part 2.5

California Trafficking Victims Protection Act

Civil Code, Division I, Part 2

Government Code Section 11135 Et Seq. (Prohibits discrimination in state-funded programs)

Government Code, Title 2, Division 3, Part 1, Chapter 1, Article 9.5

Restrictive Covenants

DFEH established procedures by which illegal restrictive covenants may be removed, but in 2006 the enforcement responsibilities were transferred to local county recorders – External Site.

The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) expressly prohibits the existence of a restrictive covenant that makes housing opportunities unavailable based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, familial status, marital status, disability, national origin, source of income or ancestry. In conjunction with this prohibition, county recorders, title insurance companies, escrow companies, real estate brokers, real estate agents or associations that provide declarations, governing documents, or deeds to any person are required to place a cover page over the document, or a stamp on the first page of the document, stating that any restrictive covenant contained in the document violates state and federal fair housing laws and is void.

In 2000, the FEHA was amended to establish procedures by which illegal restrictive covenants may be removed. In 2006, the procedures were substantially modified, transferring responsibility for the restrictive covenant program from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to the local county recorders. Effective January 1, 2006, any person holding an ownership interest of record in a property that he or she believes is the subject of an illegal restrictive covenant may record a document titled Restrictive Covenant Modification with the county recorder in the county in which the subject property is located. The modification document should include a complete copy of the original document containing the unlawfully restrictive language with the unlawfully restrictive language stricken. Following approval by the county counsel, the county recorder will record the modification document (Government Code section 12956.2, subdivisions (a) and (b) ).

For specific information about the restrictive covenant program in your county, please contact your local county recorder – External Site.

This procedure does not apply to persons holding an ownership interest in property that is part of a common interest development. Pursuant to Civil Code section 1352.5, the board of directors of a common interest development or association is required, without approval of the owners, to delete any unlawful restrictive covenant and restate the declaration or governing document without the restrictive covenant but with no other change to the document. A board of directors of a common interest development or association is not required to obtain approval from the county recorder prior to removal of restrictive covenant language.

The law clarifies the lawful status of senior citizen housing, stating that lawful restrictions under state and federal law on the age of occupants in senior housing or housing for older persons shall not be construed as restrictions based on familial status.

County recorders, title insurance companies, escrow companies, real estate brokers, real estate agents, or associations are still required to place a cover page or stamp on the first page of a previously recorded declaration, governing document or deed provided to any person. The cover page or stamp must be in at least 14-point boldface type.

Read or download Restrictive Covenants Model Language (PDF) that conforms to the requirements of Government Code section 12956.1, subdivision (b) (1).

DFEH V. LSAC

This page provides information about the settlement agreement (Consent Decree) reached in Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. Law School Admission Council, Inc. In this case, DFEH filed suit to halt ongoing harm to individuals with disabilities who sought to enter the legal profession. DFEH alleged that the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) which administers the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) subjected test takers who seek accommodations to onerous documentation requirements, denied requests for reasonable accommodations, and provided different and less desirable score reports to test takers who received the accommodation of additional test time. The United States Department of Justice intervened in the lawsuit which expanded the scope of the case and allowed for nationwide recovery.

On May 29, 2014, United States District Court Judge Edward M. Chen entered a Permanent Injunction banning LSAC from annotating or “flagging” the LSAT scores of test takers who took the examination with the accommodation of additional test time. In the past, LSAC had reported the scores of those test takers and identified that the test taker was an individual with a disability, that the test had been taken under non-standard conditions and that the test scores had to be viewed with great sensitivity. In addition the Judge approved a Consent Decree with extensive provisions and revisions to LSAC’s practices regarding testing accommodations and which provided for $8.73 million in monetary relief.

News and Resources

  • Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Appeal of Best Practices Panel Report (HTML | PDF)

    • LSAC filed an appeal against most of the Best Practices Panel Report. In an order issued on August 7, 2015 at page 2, the Court “upholds most of the Panel’s Report.” LSAC will implement the upheld recommendations starting immediately for testing accommodation requests related to the December 2015 LSAT administration and later administrations.
  • UPDATE — CLAIM FILING DEADLINE EXTENDED TO APRIL 15, 2015:

    • In an order issued on March 26, 2015, at the request of the parties, the Court extended the time for filing claims up through and including April 15, 2015.
  • Final Report of the Best Practices Panel (HTML | PDF)

    • Plaintiffs, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the United States Department of Justice claimed that the Law School Admission Council (“LSAC”) unlawfully discriminated against test takers with disabilities in the administration of the Law School Admission Test (“LSAT”). To resolve their claims – that LSAC’s policies and practices resulted in the unwarranted denial of valid requests for testing accommodations — the Parties agreed to the establishment of a Best Practices Panel composed of five experts to review LSAC’s practices and establish best practices to be implemented. On January 26, 2015 the Best Practices Panel issued its Final Report. The Final Report of the Best Practices Panel calls for extensive changes. However, LSAC has notified the parties of its intent to appeal most of the Best Practices. Thus, implementation of most of the Best Practices will be on hold pending the outcome of the appeal.
  • Press Release, January 30, 2015 (HTML | PDF)
  • Consent Decree in DFEH v. LSAC (HTML | PDF)
  • Press Release, May 20, 2014 (HTML | PDF)
  • Director’s Complaint in DFEH v. LSAC (HTML | PDF)
  • Federal Court Complaint in DFEH v. LSAC (HTML | PDF)
  • Notice of Settlement (HTML | PDF)
  • Not a Californian/not a California test taker?

Communication Center: 800-884-1684 (voice), 800-700-2320 (TTY) or
California's Relay Service at 711 | contact.center@dfeh.ca.gov