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Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission Corporate Advisory Committee and the Los Angeles Diversity Workgroup March 27, 2008 A Department of Fair Employment and Housing PRESENTATION California’s Civil Rights Agency: Past, Present and Future Presented by Phyllis W. Cheng | Director Department of Fair Employment and Housing 2218 Kausen Drive | Suite 100 Elk Grove | California | 95758 Telephone: 916. 478. 7251| Fax: 916. 478. 7329 phyllis. cheng@dfeh. ca. gov | www. dfeh. ca. gov To protect Californians from employment, housing and public accommodation discrimination, and hate violence.
Overview ± Mission of the DFEH – Mission Statement – Overview of Jurisdiction and Complaint Process ± Three-Year Plan – Improve Delivery of Public Service – Vigorous Enforcement of the Law – Expand Outreach to Stakeholders – Provide Civil Rights Leadership
MISSION STATEMENT The mission of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing is to protect Californians from employment, housing and public accommodation discrimination, and hate violence.
Jurisdiction ±The DFEH enforces the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Unruh Civil Rights Act, and Ralph Act. ±The Department's jurisdiction extends to individuals, private or public entities, housing providers, and business establishments within the State of California.
Complaint Process: Intake ±Intake Interview ±Pre-Complaint Questionnaire – Provided to Complainant in advance – Completed form brought to interview – Fact-gathering meeting with A DFEH Consultant scheduled for all persons wishing to file a complaint
Filing ±Formal Complaint - Drafted by interviewing Consultant - Signed by Complainant under penalty of perjury - Served upon Respondent ±Dual-Filed - Filed with DFEH and the federal EEOC if within that agency’s jurisdiction.
Respondent’s Answer ±Respondent required to answer ± Respondent given opportunity to voluntarily resolve dispute ± No-fault resolution can be negotiated at any point in process from here forward
Who may file? ± Individual ± Director of the DFEH ± Community organization
Investigation ±Standardized Procedures – Every complaint investigated in standard, timely manner ±Pre-Accusation Discovery – The DFEH has authority to: • Issue subpoenas • Propound interrogatories • Take depositions
Following Investigation ±Compliance by Respondent enforced by Superior Courts of California, if necessary ± If investigation does not reveal a violation of the FEHA, the DFEH closes its case file
Conciliation ± When investigation reveals a violation of law – Formal conciliation conference scheduled by District Administrator – The DFEH presents information supporting investigative findings – The DFEH explores resolution with the parties – If conciliation fails, District Administrator may recommend litigation
Administrative Litigation ±Before the Fair Employment and Housing Commission – The DFEH issues an Accusation – If not resolved, goes to a public hearing before an FEHC Administrative Law Judge – The DFEH does not represent the Complainant
Civil Litigation ±In the Superior Court of California – If the DFEH seeks an award of emotional distress damages or an administrative fine, Respondent may transfer case to Superior Court – The DFEH prosecutes the case, but does not represent the Complainant (Real Party in Interest)
Administrative Remedies ± Fair Employment and Housing Commission – Reinstatement – Back or front pay – Out-of-pocket losses – Affirmative relief (training, workplace implementation or changes) policy – Emotional distress damages – Administrative fine(s) (payable to the State General Fund – cannot be assessed against a public entity) – Note: Emotional distress damages and administrative fine(s) are limited to a maximum total of $150, 000 per Respondent
Civil Court Remedies ± Superior Court of California – Reinstatement – Back or front pay – Out-of-pocket losses – Affirmative relief (training, workplace policy implementation or changes) Emotional distress damages – Punitive damages (cannot be assessed against a public entity) – Note: The potential amount of emotional distress and punitive damage awards are unlimited
Right to Sue in Court Means ± If Complainant obtains “right to sue” letter from the DFEH and litigates on his/her own, i. e. , the DFEH Legal Division does not litigate the case, the Complainant’s potential remedies are identical to those above, in addition to: – Reasonable attorney’s fees – Expert witness fees and costs
Three-Year Plan ±Improve Delivery of Public Service ±Vigorous Enforcement of the Law ±Expand Outreach to Stakeholders ±Provide Civil Rights Leadership
Improve Delivery of Public Service ±Automated Appointment System ±Automated right-to-sue system – Important to complainants, the system contains an explanation on the administrative consequences of electing private action – www. dfeh. ca. gov
Vigorous Enforcement of the Law ± Where violations are found, the Department will vigorously enforce the laws under our jurisdiction ± Consistent with our civil rights mission, DFEH will be a leader in advancing the development of the law and in shaping public policy – Director’s Complaints – Class Complaints – Co-Counsel with other agencies
Expand Outreach to Stakeholders ± Continue to provide technical assistance and training to ensure full compliance with the laws under our jurisdiction. ± Expand the Department’s outreach to: – Civil and human rights organizations – Employee and employer groups – Tenant and landlord representatives – Plaintiffs’ and defense bars – Private and public sectors – All stakeholders in our diverse state
Provide Civil Rights Leadership ± DFEH will take a leadership role in celebrating the 50 th anniversary of the Fair Employment and Housing Act in 2009 ± Plans contemplated to celebrate this historic marker of our vital Act – In partnership, sponsor events throughout state to celebrate the advancement of the law in public and private sectors, model employers and businesses, unsung heroes, and the civil rights community • Revitalize the Employment Roundtables • Initiate Housing Roundtables – Conduct studies to take measure of the Act’s many accomplishments as well as to strive for even greater achievements in the future – Provide a blueprint for the next 50 years
After the Party ±Issue DFEH Administrative Regulations in 2010 – Intake to issuance of accusation – Hold hearings statewide – Invite public comments and testimony – File with Office of Administrative Law – Promulgated as new section in California Code of Regulations
Work with Us www. dfeh. ca. gov