Filing a Discrimination Complaint in California

San Francisco Employment Lawyer Discusses Discrimination Complaints


Workplace discrimination can take many forms, including lack of promotion, unwarranted poor performance reviews and unfair hiring practices. Many Bay Area employees feel helpless in the face of workplace discrimination; fortunately, however, an experienced employment lawyer can assist you in filing your claim to receive compensation.

The Administrative Remedy

Under California law, you cannot sue your employer until you have first filed “charges” with either the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH). This system is automated, and you can file these charges online or by traditional mail.

Key Differences

  • While both the EEOC and the DFEH protect the rights of employees, there are significant differences.
  • DFEH has a broader definition of discrimination that includes sexual orientation, however the EEOC does not.
  • The DFEH does not enforce the Equal Pay Act.
  • Both the DFEH and the EEOC contain exceptions for religious organizations in the enforcement of discrimination regulations.

When filing a claim, you should consider these differences and choose the organization that is best suited to the facts of your case.


There are strict deadlines required to file these charges:

  • Employees must file with the EEOC no later than 180 days after the illegal action occurred.
  • The California DFEH deadline is 1 year.

Right to Sue Letter

After the agency has completed their investigation, they will issue a Right to Sue letter, although you can request it earlier. If you receive the letter from the EEOC, you have 90 days to file a claim in civil court. With the DFEH, you have one year after receipt of the letter to file your civil claim.

Hire an Experienced San Francisco Bay Area Attorney

The administrative remedy process has many complicated requirements. It is highly recommended you consider hiring a Bay Area lawyer in order to achieve a favorable outcome. The Law Offices of Daniel Vega handles employment law claims every day as we represent employees in a variety of discrimination and harassment claims. Contact us today via our online contact form, or by calling (415) 287-6200 to schedule your free initial consultation.