How and when do you file an unlawful retaliation lawsuit?
Before filing a retaliation lawsuit, you have a responsibility to report the retaliatory treatment to your employer, if possible. However, this typically does not apply if the retaliation is wrongful termination. Notifying your employer is important because they are legally obligated to investigate all claims of retaliation.
In order to file an unlawful retaliation lawsuit against an employer for discrimination or harassment in California, an employee has to first file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). There are state agencies that handle other types of retaliation claims, such as the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, which investigates wage-related complaints.
Once you obtain a right-to-sue notice from the DFEH, you have one year in which to file your retaliation lawsuit. Upon receiving a letter from the EEOC, you have 90 days in which to file a lawsuit. You generally have two years to file a retaliation lawsuit related to wrongful termination or whistleblowing.
Because of the complexities and timeframes involved with filing an unlawful retaliation lawsuit, it is in your best interests to consult a knowledgeable employment law attorney before pursuing any sort of claim. The lawyer will protect your right to take legal action.