Several months ago the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) updated its website to allow employees to make an online appointment to lodge a complaint of employment discrimination or harassment. Now the DFEH allows employees to obtain immediate right-to-sue notices online. The website (www.dfeh.ca.gov) instructs that “Persons represented by counsel, who wish to proceed directly to court on employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation complaints, can now request a right-to-sue letter online.”
Employees filing a claim of discrimination with the DFEH can choose to forgo an investigation and ask for an immediate right-to-sue. The right-to-sue is the employee’s “ticket” to sue the employer in court. By choosing the immediate right-to-sue route, the DFEH will not investigate the claim, and the employee can immediately sue the employer in court. If during the initial interview the DFEH determines a case has no merit, it will allow the employee to request an immediate right-to-sue. The DFEH website repeatedly warns the employee that obtaining an immediate right-to-sue should only be done after consulting with an attorney.
The new “online” route to obtaining an immediate right-to-sue notice can streamline cases where an attorney wants to file a lawsuit. It may also lead to an increased number of discrimination or harassment lawsuits because the employee can obtain the right-to-sue from the comfort of their own home.
It will be interesting to find out if the number of discrimination and/or harassment lawsuits increase as a result of the new online procedure.
You can download an audio version of this article here: California Employment Lawyer Netcast for June 27, 2008.Phillip J. Griego & Associates 95 South Market Street, Suite 520 San Jose, CA 95113 Tel. 408-293-6341
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