California Fair Employment and Housing Act Complaint

In Garcia v. Los Angeles Unified School Dist. (1985), the Court of Appeal described the purposes of the general claims presentation requirement, "which are to give the public entity an opportunity to settle a claim before suit is brought, to permit early investigation of the facts, to facilitate fiscal planning for potential liabilities, and to avoid similarly caused injuries or liabilities in the future." The court also noted, " 'The provisions of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) for filing of a complaint with the department, administrative investigation, and service of the complaint on the employer serve a similar function." ( Id. at p. 712.) In Garcia, supra, 173 Cal. App. 3d at pages 710-711, the court explained that actions brought under FEHA have been held exempt from the claims presentation requirements of the general Tort Claims Act. Instead, "The FEHA contains specific time limitations related to the remedies provided: a verified complaint must be filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing within one year of the unlawful practice (Gov. Code, 12960); the department must serve the employer with the complaint within 45 days of filing or at the time of initial contact ( Gov. Code, 12962); if an accusation is not issued within 150 days after filing of the complaint, or if the department earlier determines that no accusation will issue, the department shall so notify the charging party in writing, informing that party that he may bring a civil action under the act against the party named in the complaint within one year from the date of that notice. ( Gov. Code, 12965.) 'The above provisions demonstrate a legislative intention to exempt actions under the FEHA from the general Tort Claims Act requirements. The procedural guidelines and the time framework provided in the FEHA are special rules for this particular type of claim which control over the general rules governing claims against governmental entities. The FEHA not only creates a statutory cause of action, but sets out a comprehensive scheme for administrative enforcement, emphasizing conciliation, persuasion and voluntary compliance, and containing specific limitations periods.' " (Garcia, supra, at pp. 710-711.)