Toni Jaramilla, A Professional Law Corporation - Los Angeles Employment Attorney Toni Jaramilla, A Professional Law Corporation - Los Angeles Employment Attorney
Learn About Your Options Today 310-551-3020

FEHA offers better harassment and discrimination protection

Those inspired by the #metoo movement often fight back using Title VII. This federal law written in 1964 addresses employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender or other aspects of one's identity. However, women and others in California who have been harassed or discriminated against would be wise to look at the protections of the state's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which provides broader coverage and interpretations when it comes to equal pay, harassment or discriminatory conduct as well as retaliation in the workplace for California workers. For example, damages are unlimited under FEHA, whereas under Title VII, there is a cap at $300,000.00. FEHA also requires employers to prevent harassment, discrimination, and retaliation from occurring through effective preventative measures.  This includes having anti-harassment policies, training, and promptly investigating, in good faith and in an unbiased manner, all reports of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in the workplace.  FEHA provides protections to employees who work for smaller employers with 5 or more employees (employers of 1 or more employees are covered for harassment claims), whereas Title VII covers employers of 15 or more employees.  In addition to protecting employees, FEHA's harassment provisions protect unpaid interns, volunteers, and independent contractors.  FEHA also protects harassment conducted by non-employees.  An example would be a customer who sexually harasses a waitress or restaurant employee.  If the employer is aware of the harassment by a non-employee like a customer, and fails to take action to protect its employees, the employer may be held liable under FEHA. ID: 2959319 Primary Target URL: http://www.jaramilla.com/blogDue Date: Jun 6 2018 Post Type: Client Requested: No Title: FEHA offers better harassment and discrimination protection those inspired by the #metoo movement often fight back using Title VII. This federal law written in 1964 addresses employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender or other aspects of one's identity. However, women and others in California who have been harassed or discriminated against would be wise to look at the protections of the state's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which provides broader coverage and interpretations when it comes to equal pay, harassment or discriminatory conduct as well as retaliation in the workplace for California workers. For example, damages are unlimited under FEHA, whereas under Title VII, there is a cap at $300,000.00. FEHA also requires employers to prevent harassment, discrimination, and retaliation from occurring through effective preventative measures.  This includes having anti-harassment policies, training, and promptly investigating, in good faith and in an unbiased manner, all reports of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in the workplace.  FEHA provides protections to employees who work for smaller employers with 5 or more employees (employers of 1 or more employees are covered for harassment claims), whereas Title VII covers employers of 15 or more employees.  In addition to protecting employees, FEHA's harassment provisions protect unpaid interns, volunteers, and independent contractors.  FEHA also protects harassment conducted by non-employees.  An example would be a customer who sexually harasses a waitress or restaurant employee.  If the employer is aware of the harassment by a non-employee like a customer, and fails to take action to protect its employees, the employer may be held liable under FEHA.

Better for employees of small businesses

FEHA applies to businesses of five or more employees, while Title VII is limited to companies of 15 or more employees (20 or more if the dispute involves age discrimination). FEHA also goes further in cases of harassment, applying to a company with a single employee or contractor. These are key distinctions in an economy where a majority of the workforce is employed by smaller businesses or operate as contractors.

FEHA has a longer statute of limitations

Employees must file a charge under Title VII within 180 days of the discrimination (45 days for federal employees), or 300 days if the state or local agency enforces a law that prohibits this discrimination on the same basis. But according to an article by employment law attorney Toni Jaramilla, employees will often delay filing harassment or misconduct charges for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are the fear of retaliation, mental distress, confusion over the litigation process or undeserved shame.

FEHA's one-year statute of limitations for reporting discrimination gives plaintiffs sufficient time to summon the courage and resources to file a charge of harassment and a civil lawsuit.

Other important advantages

Many believe it is best to seek relief under FEHA from the beginning. Other advantages include:

  • Liability usually focuses on the employer under Title VII, but FEHA imposes individual liability.
  • Title VII limits emotional distress and punitive damages to $300,000, while FEHA does not have limits on damages for numerous forms of injury.
  • Both statutes provide for prevailing plaintiff attorney's fees, but multipliers are routinely awarded under FEHA.

How to file for FEHA's protection

Unless you are a federal employee (which requires Title VII exhaustion), the employee in California can file with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). This can be done online, over the phone or through the mail. While attorney representation is not required, it is recommended to consult with or hire an attorney knowledgeable in employment law, particularly if the DFEH chooses not to initially pursue the case.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact Us Today

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Toni Jaramilla, A Professional Law Corporation
1900 Avenue of the Stars
Suite 900
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Phone: 310-551-3020
Fax: 310-551-3019
Map & Directions