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How to file a workplace discrimation complaint in California

Unfortunately, many people in California have experienced discrimination in the workplace. Whether it is related to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or a disability, however, it is illegal. Because most offenders will not stop because you request it, it is important to know how to file a complaint with the state.

Anyone who has experienced discriminationfrom an employer has the right to file a complaint with the state. One of the most important things to be aware of when considering filing a complaint against an employer is that the complaint must be filed within six months of the discriminatory incident.

A complaint form can be found on the Department of Industrial Relations' website. You will have to answer several questions as part of the complaint, including whether you filed a complaint with your employer, and if others in your workplace are filing similar complaints. You will then be asked to describe the instance of discrimination, name any witnesses to the discrimination and explain how you would like the issue to be resolved.

Once your complaint is filed, you will be interviewed along with your employer and any witnesses to the alleged workplace discrimination. A hearing may be scheduled, and then a deputy will decide whether your complaint is legitimate. If the deputy decides in your favor, your employer will be ordered to comply with whatever resolution is decided upon. If the decision is not in your favor, you may appeal.

Employees in California who experienced discrimination in the workplace have the right to file a complaint. Because the process can become quite complex, however, some people find it helpful to work with an attorney who can guide them through the process.

Source: State of California Department of Industrial Relations, "How to file a retaliation/discrimination complaint," Dec. 10, 2013

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