Where should I file a retaliation claim if I live in California?
If you have been retaliated against for making any kind of inquiry or complaint about whether you have been paid your lawful wages
, you may file a retaliation claim against your employer with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE, or “Labor Commissioner”).
The Labor Commissioner’s process is often easier for workers who cannot afford a private attorney. The DLSE’s complaint form is available at www.dir.ca.gov If you choose to file with DLSE, you must do so within 180 days (6 months) of the retaliatory act taken against you.
DLSE will investigate and issue a decision within sixty days of receiving your complaint. If DLSE finds that your employer has unlawfully retaliated against you, penalties may include suspension of the employer’s business license and/or a fine.
If you have been retaliated against for complaining about discrimination in the workplace
-- that is, if you or others complained about being treated worse than other employees because of their race, sex, gender identity/expression, national origin, color, religion, disability, age (40 or older), military/veteran status, or pregnancy status
– you may file a retaliation complaint with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”). If the discrimination was on the basis of sexual orientation, , marital status,
, you may file a retaliation claim with DFEH. For a list of ways to file with the EEOC, visit their website at http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/howtofile.cfm.
For a list of ways to file with the DFEH, visit their website at http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Complaints_ComplaintProcess.htm
. If you are filing with the EEOC, you have 300 days
from the date of the retaliation to file your complaint. If you are filing with the DFEH, however, you have one year
in which to do so.
If you were retaliated against because you complained about health or safety conditions at the workplace
, you may also file a claim with the federal Office of Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”). A claim form with OSHA is available at https://www.osha.gov/whistleblower/WBComplaint.html
. You can also call or send a letter to your OSHA Regional office, which are listed here https://www.osha.gov/html/RAmap.html
. In general, you have 30 days from your employer’s retaliatory act to file a claim with OSHA.
However, this time period may be longer depending upon the OSHA violation you report has been violated. For more information, visit OSHA’s website about Whistleblower Protections, which is available at https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/whistleblower_rights.pdf
. If you filed a health or safety complaint with California’s Office of Safety and Health Administration (“Cal/OSHA”) and were retaliated against, you may also file a claim with the DLSE. Again, the DLSE complaint form is available at www.dir.ca.gov
. If you choose to file with DLSE, you must do so within 180 days (6 months) of the retaliatory act taken against you.
If you were retaliated against because you filed a workers’ compensation claim,
you may file a retaliation claim with the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (“WCAB”) under Cal. Labor Code § 132a. The form for filing a retaliation claim under Cal. Labor Code § 132a is available at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/iwguides/IWGuide07.pdf
. If you choose to file with WCAB, you must do so within one year of the retaliatory act taken against you.