An employer may defeat a sexual harassment lawsuit if the plaintiff did not timely file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH, http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC, http://www.eeoc.gov/) in advance of her lawsuit. Generally, a complaint with the DFEH is timely under California law if it was filed within one year of the date on which the employer's alleged harassment occurred. You can contact the DFEH at the web address listed above. You can also prepare a complaint of harassment to the DFEH online at this link. A complaint to the EEOC must generally be made within 90 days of the harassment. To initiate a complaint to the EEOC, visit this link. Federal employees are generally required to present their harassment claims to the agency that employs them before complaining to the EEOC. Before you bring a statutory sexual harassment claim to court, you must receive a right-to-sue notice from the EEOC or the DFEH.
Not only is sexual harassment illegal. The law also prohibits:
- Racial harassment
- Religious harassment
- Age-based harassment
- Harassment based on disability
- Harassment based on ethnicity or national origin