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Discrimination: How to file and who to speak to in California

If you've been discriminated against on the job while working in California, there are a few steps you need to take to rectify the situation. First of all, you need to recognize if you've been retaliated against or discriminated against, since simply being fired or passed over during hiring isn't usually enough to prove discrimination. If you believe you have, then you can file a complaint with the labor commissioner in California. This is just the first step, but it brings your situation to light, so others can investigate.

As an employee in the state, you are legally allowed to speak to representatives at the office of the California Labor Commissioner at any point about your working conditions. You are also able to speak to any law enforcement agencies or government bodies. When you do this, you are protected from retaliation; your employer may not fire you, demote you or suspend you due to this action.

If you decide that you want to file a formal complaint for retaliation or discrimination, you need to do so within six months of the incident. There are a few exceptions that allow for up to two years, but it's best to file your complaint as soon as possible with the correct governmental bodies.

Filing a complaint shouldn't be difficult, but if you find that you need more information about the legal implications, you may want to speak with someone familiar with California's workplace discrimination laws. With the right help, you can develop a strong case around your position that can help you get the compensation you need.

Source: California Department of Industrial Relations, "How to file a retaliation/discrimination complaint" Dec. 24, 2014

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