WHAT’S NEW IN 2020 TIME’S UP, EXTENDED « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Longer Three-Year Deadline For Initiating Discrimination Claims

Targets of workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation prohibited by California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) now have three years (up from the previous one year) to file a claim with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) against the subject employer.

A person claiming such wrongful conduct must file that DFEH complaint as well as request and receive a right-to-sue letter from that agency before initiating a FEHA lawsuit.

Responding to #MeToo concerns that recipients of such abuse need more time to process, the legislature’s Assembly Bill (AB) 9, effective January 1, 2020, amends the FEHA to permit this longer three-year period. Extensions from 90 days to one year are available for special circumstances such as late discovery of the facts. Some other types of FEHA claims, e.g. for housing discrimination, still have a one-year deadline. Government Code section 12960(e).

A claimant has one year from the date of his/her DFEH right-to-sue letter to file the FEHA court suit.

Employers may now have to respond to court-filed allegations – and to muster documents and witnesses – for incidents four-years or more old. Thus, best personnel practices might well include:

  • having a clear-cut policy for reporting and investigating allegations of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation;
  • documenting clearly and maintaining thorough records of all such investigations; and
  • maintaining contact information for departing employees who may become witnesses over any significant workplace upset or dispute.

See also:

For more information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Helena Kobrin, Tim Bowles

January 10, 2020