THE CALIFORNIA FAIR EMPLOYMENT AND
HOUSING ACT (GOVERNMENT CODE
SECTIONS 12900 THROUGH 12996) AND ITS
IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS (CALIFORNIA
CODE OF REGULATIONS, TITLE 2, SECTIONS
11000 THROUGH 11141):
Prohibit harassment of employees, applicants, unpaid
interns, volunteers, and independent contractors
by any persons and require employers to take
all reasonable steps to prevent harassment. This
includes a prohibition against sexual harassment,
gender harassment, harassment based on pregnancy,
childbirth, breastfeeding and/or related medical
conditions, as well as harassment based on all other
characteristics listed above.
Require that all employers provide information to
each of their employees on the nature, illegality,
and legal remedies that apply to sexual harassment.
Employers may either develop their own publications,
which must meet standards set forth in California
Government Code section 12950, or use a brochure
Require employers with 50 or more employees
and all public entities to provide sexual harassment
and abusive conduct prevention training for all
Prohibit employers from limiting or prohibiting
the use of any language in any workplace unless
justified by business necessity. The employer must
notify employees of the language restriction and
consequences for violation. Also prohibits employers
from discriminating against an applicant or employee
because they possess a driver’s license issued to a
person who is unable to prove that their presence in
the United States is authorized under federal law.
Require employers to reasonably accommodate
an employee, unpaid intern, or job applicant’s
religious beliefs and practices, including the
wearing or carrying of religious clothing, jewelry
or artifacts, and hair styles, facial hair, or body hair,
which are part of an individual’s observance of their
Require employers to reasonably accommodate
employees or job applicants with disabilities to enable
them to perform the essential functions of a job.
FILING A COMPLAINT
The law provides for remedies for individuals who
experience prohibited discrimination or harassment
in the workplace. These remedies include hiring,
front pay, back pay, promotion, reinstatement, ceaseand-
desist orders, expert witness fees, reasonable
attorney’s fees and costs, punitive damages, and
emotional distress damages.
Job applicants, unpaid interns, and employees: If
you believe you have experienced discrimination
or harassment you may file a complaint with DFEH.
Independent contractors and volunteers: If you believe
you have been harassed, you may file a complaint
Complaints must be filed within one year of the last act
of discrimination/harassment or, for victims who are
under the age of 18, not later than one year after the
victim’s eighteenth birthday.
Permit job applicants, unpaid interns, volunteers, and
employees to file complaints with DFEH against an
employer, employment agency, or labor union that
fails to grant equal employment as required by law.
Prohibit discrimination against any job applicant,
unpaid intern, or employee in hiring, promotions,
assignments, termination, or any term, condition,
or privilege of employment.
Require employers, employment agencies, and
unions to preserve applications, personnel records,
and employment referral records for a minimum of
Require employers to provide leaves of up to four
months to employees disabled because of pregnancy,
childbirth, or a related medical condition.
Require an employer to provide reasonable
accommodations requested by an employee, on the
advice of their health care provider, related to their
pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.
Require employers of 50 or more persons to allow
eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks leave
in a 12-month period for the birth of a child; the
placement of a child for adoption or foster care;
for an employee’s own serious health condition; or
to care for a parent, spouse, or child with a serious
health condition. The law also requires employers
to post a notice informing employees of their family
and medical leave rights.
Require employment agencies to serve all applicants
equally, refuse discriminatory job orders, and prohibit
employers and employment agencies from making
discriminatory pre-hiring inquiries or publishing helpwanted
advertisements that express a discriminatory
Prohibit unions from discriminating in member
admissions or dispatching members to jobs.
Prohibit retaliation against a person who opposes,
reports, or assists another person to oppose