How Do I File A California Workplace Discrimination Lawsuit?

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

Top 10 Questions On Filing A Lawsuit Against Your Employer


It is against labor laws for an employer in California to discriminate against a protected class of workers or applicants in California. It involves bias based on

  • race,

  • religion,

  • pregnancy,

  • gender, or

  • medical conditions.

Employees who are discriminated against will file a workplace discrimination claim seeking damages against the employer.




Below, the following commonly asked questions about filing a workplace discrimination case in California are covered by our California workplace lawyers:


1. How do I file a California job discrimination lawsuit?


You usually have to first file your complaint with the Department of Equal Employment and Housing (DFEH) before you can file a case against an employer for employment discrimination in California. Normally, an employee or applicant is expected to first exhaust all administrative remedies. This could mean that before they can file a lawsuit, the employee needs to go through the DFEH complaint process.


Without needing to go through a thorough DFEH or EEOC investigation, you may request an automatic right to sue notification. However, if you request prompt notice of the right to sue, DFEH will not investigate your case. Alternatively, before bringing your case to court, you can also wait until the DFEH dismisses your case or finds no infringement.


According to the DFEH, it is only advisable to move directly to court without the DFEH 's inquiry if you have an attorney. Your lawyer will have the right to contact your lawyer and file your complaint in the Superior Court of California, the county where the discrimination occurred, or another appropriate county.


The "complaint" will be to your employer and everyone else identified as a defendant in the case until you file the case. The defendants in the complaint will respond to the complaint by responding to the allegations in a formal response, and the case can continue via litigation.


It can take a long time for a federal employment discrimination case to find its way through the courts, and it could take years. However, the case is more likely to settle out of court as the case gets closer and closer to trial. The employer and employee may settle before the conclusion of a trial before the court decides on the case.


It can go to trial and be heard by a jury in a jury trial or front of a judge if the case is not resolved. The judge and jury will listen to the evidence and the claims from each side. On each lawsuit, the judge or jury will then make a finding for or against the plaintiff and decide what damages each party will be awarded.