Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Relevant Evidence in a FEHA Complaint

Victims of discrimination in the workplace have several legal options to take to seek redress for their grievances. Under federal and state discrimination laws, a worker may file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against any person or employer, provided he follows the usual procedure in filing for a discrimination complaint.

The article, “DFEH (Department of Fair and Equal Housing)”, posted on November 2, 2008, discussed the special task of the state department to deal mainly with employment and housing discrimination. In addition, the DFEH, as the article mentioned, is also tasked to” receive and investigate discrimination complaints throughout California”.

The department was created to implement the state discrimination provisions of the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The FEHA is the major California statute that prohibits employment discrimination “covering employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, apprenticeship programs” and any person or entity who “aids, abets, incites, compels, or coerces the doing of a discriminatory act”.

In addition, the state law also bans discrimination based on color or race, national origin or ancestry, religious beliefs, disability or medical conditions, sex or gender and sexual orientation, age and pregnancy and related medical condition.

The FEHA also prohibits retaliation against the victim for filing a complaint, testifying, or assisting in proceedings under the FEHA.

As discussed further in the article, several remedies may be available to a discrimination victim, which include back pay, reinstatement, policy change, reasonable accommodation, affirmative relief and actual damages, among others.

In determining whether to award emotional damages in a discrimination claim, the Fair and Employment Housing Commission considers the following relevant evidence:

• the victim’s physical and mental well-being

• his ability to work and his employment status

• personal integrity and dignity

• professional reputation

• family relationship

• ability to associate with peers and coworkers and access to the job

Workers who complain of discrimination are often humiliated and harassed in the workplace. Sometimes, they may even find it difficult to file a complaint. When this happens, an aggrieved worker may consult with a skilled employment lawyer to help him with his claims.