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California discrimination filing system adds a step

The process for filing workplace discrimination complaints in California is changing. The process, which was streamlined in 2012, will now include a person-to-person screener. The change is a response to difficulties caused by the computerized reporting system, which made the process faster and easier but caused an increase in the number of denied petitions.

The old paper-based workplace discrimination complaint system was arduous and involved mailing information as well as multiple interviews. This delayed an eventual resolution to the complaint, but the 2012 system made forms available online to workers who felt they were faced with discrimination. However, when using the new system, workers sometimes supplied too little or too much information, rendering the complaint less useful and increasing the likelihood that the complaint would be denied. The Department of Fair Housing and Employment added human screeners who are able to elicit needed information to the process.

Employment discrimination complaints concern a vast array of issues. Discrimination based on race, creed, gender or age violates federal discrimination law, and workers are able to file against an employer if these violations occur. Each year, 20,000 complaints concerning employment and housing discrimination are filed. In order for a worker to lodge a lawsuit against an employer, they must first file their complaint with the department and exhaust any administrative means for a resolution.

An attorney may help a worker in California understand their rights if they feel they have experienced discrimination. After reviewing the relevant evidence, that attorney could build a case that attempts to demonstrate that his or her client experienced discriminatory behavior. The attorney may also be able to show the extent that a client was harmed by the alleged actions and could help the client seek compensation for those damages.

Source: SCPR, "California's housing and job discrimination complaint process just got longer", Sharon McNary, September 01, 2014

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