Below are the most important deadlines for various complaints that an abused employee should be aware of:
• Employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims
Usually, complaints regarding employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims in violation of FEHA or ADA have to be filed before with either the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within one year upon the last discriminatory or harassment incident. In case of wrongful termination, the most recent event of employers’ misconduct is obviously your termination. On the other hand, if you are still with the company, then the most recent event would be any act that you believe violates any of the anti-discrimination or anti-harassment laws.
Upon filing a complaint with any of the said federal agencies, employees no longer need to worry about statute limitation no matter how long it takes for the agencies to investigate your complaints since the deadline has been automatically tolled.
Subsequently, after the DFEH or the EEOC has completed its investigation, the agency will then issue a right to sue letter and the complainant will be given one year from the date of receipt of the said letter to finally file a lawsuit in court. Employees should note that the EEOC’s right to sue letter usually has a much shorter expiration date, which ranges from 90 to 300 days depending on the claim.
• Wage and hour claim/failure to pay overtime and other labor code violations
Claims like wage and hour, failure to pay overtime, and other labor code violations have a three year statute of limitation. This means that you can go as far as three years back when claiming wages and overtime pay. In fact, in some cases, the claim can still be made possible even up to four years. Consequently, an employee can only include overtimes that are not older than three or four years counting back from the day of filing the claim. In California, most of the state’s labor code violations have a three-year statute of limitations.
• Wrongful termination and other retaliation claims
With respect to employment discrimination cases, even if you miss the one-year deadline to file a DFEH or EEOC complaint, there is still an all-inclusive claim that an aggrieved employee can file in court even after two years of the most recent misconduct. However, wrongful termination in California has some disadvantages compared to the actual employment discrimination and harassment cases. However, it is a way to bring the case into court to seek due justice.
Meanwhile, retaliation claims that are included in the California health and safety code patient care act can be raised within two years upon last retaliatory practice.