Employment Law Blog

Deadlines for Filing Your Discrimination Claim

9/12/2016 by Joseph M. Hekmat


At the Hekmat Law Group, we are often asked by our clients and potential clients whether there are deadlines for filing complaints of discrimination under California law and, if so, what those deadlines are.  California law provides very strict timelines for filing a complaint of unlawful discrimination with the relevant state agencies or else such claims can be barred by the applicable statute of limitations, which would prevent you from bringing such a claim in court.  Because filing a claim with the applicable state agency is a mandatory prerequisite in order to pursue your claim in court, it is important that you contact an experienced employee rights attorney as quickly as possible if you have been a victim of illegal discrimination in California.

Deadlines for Filing a Complaint of Discrimination in California

Under California law, claims of discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex (including sexual harassment), pregnancy, age (40 and over), or sexual orientation must first be filed with the State of California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) within 1 year of an “adverse action.”  (Gov’t. C. §12965(b)). An adverse action is defined by California law as a discharge, demotion, suspension, reduction in your pay or hours, or a refusal to hire or promote on unlawful grounds.

Similar claims under Federal law must be filed within 300 days from date of discriminatory act with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 USC §2000e-5(e)(1) & 42 USC §2000e-5(f)(1)).  Claimants thereafter have 365 days after a DFEH right to sue letter is granted to file their complaint in court (and 90 days after an EEOC right to sue letter is granted).

There are exceptions to this general rule, including complaints alleging unequal pay compared to members of the opposite sex performing the same work (which invoke a 6 month deadline to file with the California Labor Commissioner and a 2 year deadline to file in court.  (California Labor Code §§98.7(a) and  1197.5 (h)).

Contact Hekmat Law Group if You Have Been Discriminated Against

Due to the narrow timeframe involved with filing discrimination claims in California, you should contact an experienced employee rights attorney as soon as possible.  If you fail to do so, you may find your claim barred by the relevant statute of limitations.  The attorneys of Hekmat Law Group have been representing employees who have been victims of discrimination for years and will provide you with personalized attention and keep you informed at every step of the way during your case.  Contact the attorneys of the Hekmat Law Group at (424) 888-4LAW today.