How to File an Employment Discrimination Lawsuit in CA

It is against the law for an employer in California to discriminate against a protected class of employees or applicants. This includes discrimination based on race, religion, gender, or medical conditions. Employees who are discriminated against can file an employment discrimination lawsuit against the employer for damages.

Below, our California employment discrimination lawyers discuss the following frequently asked questions about filing an employment discrimination lawsuit in California:

Lawsuit
It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate against a person in any aspect of employment.

If you have further questions after reading this article, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

1. How do I file an employment discrimination lawsuit in California?

Before you can file a lawsuit against an employer for employment discrimination in California, you generally have to first file your complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). An employee or applicant is usually required to exhaust all administrative remedies first. This may mean the employee has to go through the DFEH complaint process before they can file a lawsuit.1

You can request an immediate right to sue notice, without having to go through a complete DFEH or EEOC investigation. However, if you seek an immediate right to sue notice, your complaint will not be investigated by DFEH. Alternatively, you may also wait until the DFEH dismisses your case or finds no violation before taking your case to court.2

According to the DFEH, proceeding directly to court without an investigation by the DFEH is only advisable if you have an attorney. Your attorney can obtain a right to sue notice and file your case in California Superior Court, in the county where the discrimination occurred, or another relevant county.3

Once you file the lawsuit, the “complaint” will be served upon your employer and anyone else named in the lawsuit as a defendant. The defendants will respond to the complaint with a formal answer responding to the allegations, and the case may proceed through litigation.

A civil employment discrimination lawsuit can take a long time to make its way through the courts, and could take years. However, as the case gets closer and closer to trial, the case is more likely to settle out of court. At any point before the end of a trial, the employer and employee can negotiate a settlement before the court makes a ruling on the case.

If the lawsuit is not settled, it may go to trial and be heard by a jury in a jury trial or in front of a judge in a bench trial. The judge and jury will hear the evidence and the arguments from each side. The judge or jury will then make a finding for or against the plaintiff on each claim, and determine what damages to award each party.

2. How do I know if I was discriminated against?

Most workplace discrimination is subtle. Employers are aware that discrimination could lead to a lawsuit and take steps to make sure they don't put anything in writing or say anything obvious to the employer or applicant. However, there may be signs of discrimination.

Signs of employment discrimination could involve treating certain groups of employees different from other employees. It could also include sudden changes in attitude towards an employee when an employer finds out an employee is part of a protected group. These signs of possible discrimination may involve:

  • Sudden changes in job performance reviews
  • Exclusion from meetings and events
  • Change in work duties or workload increases
  • Reduced hours or reduced pay
  • Different rule enforcement involving workers of different backgrounds
  • Failure of management to put a stop to racist or sexist jokes in the workplace
  • Making fun of an individual's accent or sexual orientation
  • Failing to consider applicants with ethnic-sounding names

Employers who are in the same protected class as the employee can still discriminate. For example, an African-American boss can discriminate against an African-American employee or applicant. A female employer can discriminate against a female applicant because of her gender.

3. Am I in a protected class in California?

Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an individual based on:

  • Race
  • Religious creed
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Ancestry
  • Physical Disability
  • Mental Disability
  • Medical Condition
  • Genetic Information
  • Marital Status
  • Sex
  • Gender
  • Gender Identity
  • Gender Expression
  • Age
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Military and Veteran status4

Discrimination in the workplace can affect anyone. Discrimination is not limited to minorities. Discrimination based on any of the above categories against anyone in California is unlawful in the workplace. Federal law also prohibits most types of discrimination in employment.

It is also unlawful discrimination if an employer discriminates against an employee based on an individual's perceived race, sexual orientation, disability, or another protected group. This means that even if an employer is wrong about the employee's status, they can still be in violation of the law for discrimination.

For example: An employer thinks an applicant is gay because of the way the applicant dresses or acts during a job interview. The employer does not want to hire gay employees. The employee files a complaint against the employer for discrimination based on sexual orientation. If the applicant was not gay, the employer is still in violation of California laws for discrimination based on perceived sexual orientation.

Under the FEHA, it is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate against a person in any aspect of employment. This includes:

  1. Refusing to hire or employ
  2. Refusing to select a person for a training program
  3. Firing, bearing, or discharging an employee
  4. Discriminating against a person in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.5

Employment discrimination is prohibited in any aspect of employment or hiring, including:

  • Refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation
  • Refusing to engage in a timely, good faith interactive process with employees in need of a reasonable accommodation
  • Refusing to hire
  • Refusing to select for a training program
  • Demotion
  • Reduced pay
  • Deny a promotion
  • Deny reinstatement
  • Deny benefits
  • Forcing an employee to quit
  • Harassment
  • Assign different duties
  • Discrimination in any way

The laws against employment discrimination are not limited to employers. Employment discrimination laws also apply to unions and labor organizations, which are prohibited from excluding, expelling, or restricting membership based on discriminatory categories.6 Discrimination prohibitions also apply to apprenticeship training programs and employment agencies.78

4. Is it discrimination if I was never hired?

Employment discrimination laws also apply to job applications, job applicants, and interview situations before an individual is ever hired.

Improper job application forms or questions during an interview may be a sign of potential employment discrimination violations. An employer may be violating employment laws when asking questions an individual's:

  • Nationality
  • Ancestry
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Maiden name
  • Birthplace
  • Marital status
  • Requiring a photograph
  • Mental or physical disability
  • Arrest record

Employers cannot ask the applicant to take a medical or psychological exam if other prospective employees are not also required to take such exams, or if the examination is not job-related and consistent with business necessity. However, an employer may ask job applicants if they can perform the essential functions of the job and how they would perform the job duties.

After an applicant is offered a job, the employer can condition the job on the applicant passing a medical exam or answering medical questions only if all new employees in a similar job function have to answer these questions or take a medical exam.

5. Do I have to file a complaint with HR first?

If an employer refused to hire an applicant for discriminatory reasons, or an employer discriminates against an employee, there may be no need to go to human resources before filing a discrimination complaint. However, depending on the type of discrimination or harassment involved, it may be necessary or recommended to direct a complaint to a supervisor or human resources office before filing a lawsuit.

When workplace harassment involves a co-worker, or other non-supervisor, the employer may only be liable if the employer was negligent. This means that the employer must:

  • Know or should have known that harassment was occurring; and
  • The employer failed to take immediate and appropriate corrective action.9

The employee's harassment lawsuit will depend on whether the employer took proper measures to prevent harassment in the workplace and how the employer responded to complaints or signs or workplace harassment.

Employers must provide “reasonable accommodation” for applicants and employees who are unable to perform the essential functions of the job because of a medical condition, disability, or pregnancy.10

Employers must also engage in a timely, good faith interactive process with employees in need of a reasonable accommodation. This is to determine whether a reasonable accommodation would allow the applicant or employee to complete the necessary functions to perform the job.11

If an employee or applicant needs a reasonable accommodation to perform the job, the employee should communicate their needs to a supervisor or human resources representative. If the employer is not responsive or does not provide a reasonable accommodation, the employee may want to file a complaint with the EEOC or the DFEH.

6. Do I have to file a complaint with the EEOC if I was discriminated against?

Employment discrimination can be a violation of both California state law and federal law. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces most federal employment discrimination laws. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is the state agency that handles most employment discriminations.

However, in many cases, California law offers broader protections for anti-discrimination cases than federal law. For example, California specifically prohibits transgender discrimination and discrimination based on sexual orientation. Federal law has extended protection to gender orientation but those classes are not specifically referenced in federal anti-discrimination laws.

California laws may also apply to employers with at least 5 employees. However, certain federal laws only apply to employers with at 15 or more employees. For these reasons, many individuals in California prefer to file an employment discrimination complaint with the DFEH instead of the EEOC. Although, in many cases, a complaint can be crossfield between both agencies.

If an employee wants to file a lawsuit against his or her employer for employment discrimination in California, the employee is usually required to exhaust all administrative remedies first. This may mean the employee has to go through the DFEH complaint process before they can file a lawsuit. However, your attorney may file a complaint with the DFEH and obtain an immediate right to sue notice without waiting for the administrative process first.12

You can file an employment discrimination complaint directly with the DFEH. In general, you must submit a pre-complaint inquiry within one year of the last incident of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. However, there are exceptions to this time limit, such as where the individual did not learn about the unlawful practice until after the expiration of one year.13

The complaint can be filed online, by phone, or printing out and mailing the proper form from the DFEH website. The pre-complaint inquiry will initiate an intake interview with the DFEH and help determine whether a complaint can be accepted for investigation.

An investigator will contact the individual who filed the complaint within 60 days and discuss the details of the alleged discrimination or harassment. If the DFEH representative determines the state will not handle the complaint, the matter will be dismissed, and the individual has the immediate right to sue their employer in court. If the representative accepts the pre-complaint inquiry, a complaint will be prepared for your signature and delivered to the employer. The complaint can also be dual-filed with the EEOC at this point.

After the employer responds to the complaint, the DFEH will review the answer. In many cases, the DFEH will offer dispute resolution services, which provide a way for the employee and employer to negotiate a resolution to the complaint. If the complaint cannot be resolved through negotiations, the DFEH will initiate an investigation.

An employment discrimination investigation will determine whether there was a violation of California anti-discrimination laws. If the investigation finds there was a violation, the case will go the DFEH Legal Division. If there is no violation, the case will be closed. If the case is closed, the employee still has the immediate right to take their case to court.

The DFEH Legal Division generally requires the parties to go through mediation. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution where a neutral mediator helps the parties come together to find a mutually agreeable solution. In a successful mediation, the employer and employee will come up with a way to settle the dispute, without leaving it up to the courts to decide the outcome.

If the parties cannot settle the dispute through mediation, the DFEH could file a lawsuit on behalf of the employee against the employer. If the DFEH does not pursue the claim, it will close the investigation and the employee has the immediate right to file a lawsuit against the employer.

7. How long do I have to sue my employer after I was discriminated against?

Under California law, it is a civil right to have the opportunity to seek and hold employment without discrimination based on a race, religion, sexual orientation, and other forms of unlawful discrimination. Employees who are discriminated against can file a lawsuit against their employers for unlawful discrimination.14

You have a limited time to file a lawsuit against your employer for employment discrimination violations. The time limit depends, in part, on how your complaint was handled. However, in some cases, these deadlines can be longer, or shorter, depending on the circumstances.

California Discrimination Law Violations

In general, you need to file a complaint with the DFEH within one year of the last incident of employment discrimination or retaliation. You have to get a Right-to-Sue notice before you can file a lawsuit in civil court. After the state issues you a notice of your right to sue or does not pursue your claim, you have one-year to file a lawsuit in state court.15

Federal Discrimination Law Violations

If you are filing a federal employment discrimination complaint, you generally have 180 days to file a complaint. However, the EEOC deadline can be extended to 300 days if a state or local agency enforces employment discrimination laws on the same basis. For most employment discrimination claims in California, employees would have 300 days to file an EEOC complaint.

In order to file a federal employment discrimination claim, you have to get a notice of right to sue. After the EEOC issues a notice of right to sue, the employee generally has 90 days to file a lawsuit in civil court.

Talk to a lawyer as soon as you can to make sure you have enough time to file your claim and take your case to court.

8. What are my damages in an employment discrimination lawsuit in California?

The damages available in an employment discrimination lawsuit will depend on a number of factors, including the extent of the discrimination, whether you were subject to any harassment, and the type of the harm to the employee or job applicant. This may include money damages, punitive damages, and equitable remedies.

Money damages from employment discrimination based may include losses from:

  • Back wages (with interest)
  • Front pay
  • Loss of income from a missed promotion
  • Reduced pay after a demotion
  • Benefits
  • Pension benefits
  • Bonus payments
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

An employment discrimination lawsuit may also seek equitable remedies. Equitable remedies may force an employer to take certain actions. For example, if an applicant was not hired for a discriminatory reason, the court can require the employer to hire the employee. The court can also require the employer to make reasonable accommodations to the employee.

In most employment discrimination lawsuits, applicants or employees who have suffered employment discrimination or harassment can also seek damages for the cost of attorney's fees and court costs.16

When the employer's behavior is especially egregious or malicious, an employee may also eligible to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are damages that are intended to punish the wrongful behavior of the employer. Punitive damages also act as a way to deter the employer or other employers from engaging in similar wrongful behavior in the future.17

9. Can I be fired for filing a workplace discrimination lawsuit?

California workers cannot be retaliated against for reporting workplace discrimination against other employees, applicants, or co-workers.18

The FEHA protects employees who are retaliated against for:

  • Opposing workplace harassment
  • Opposing employment discrimination against other employees
  • Reporting employment discrimination or workplace harassment
  • Assisting with DFEH investigations or government inquiries

An employer cannot fire an employee for filing a workplace discrimination or harassment lawsuit. Firing an employee for filing a workplace discrimination claim is a retaliatory action, and may be considered "wrongful termination".19

If an employer retaliates against an employee for reporting FEHA violations or other employment law violations, the employee may be able to file a complaint with the DFEH for retaliation. An employee who is retaliated against can also file a lawsuit against the employer for retaliation or wrongful termination.

Call us for help...

For questions about California employment discrimination laws, retaliation, or to discuss your case confidentially with one of our skilled California employment law attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

We have local employment law offices in and around Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.

Work in Nevada? See our article on Nevada employment discrimination laws.


Legal References:

  1. Fair Employment and Housing Act 12960. (“(b) Any person claiming to be aggrieved by an alleged unlawful practice may file with the department a verified complaint, in writing, that shall state the name and address of the person, employer, labor organization, or employment agency alleged to have committed the unlawful practice complained of, and that shall set forth the particulars thereof and contain other information as may be required by the department. The director or his or her authorized representative may in like manner, on his or her own motion, make, sign, and file a complaint.”)
  2. Fair Employment and Housing Act 12965 -- Unlawful Practices. (“(b) If a civil action is not brought by the department within 150 days after the filing of a complaint, or if the department earlier determines that no civil action will be brought, the department shall promptly notify, in writing, the person claiming to be aggrieved that the department shall issue, on his or her request, the right-to-sue notice.”)
  3. Fair Employment and Housing Act 12965 -- Unlawful Practices. (“(b) ... The superior courts of the State of California shall have jurisdiction of those actions, and the aggrieved person may file in these courts. An action may be brought in any county in the state in which the unlawful practice is alleged to have been committed, in the county in which the records relevant to the practice are maintained and administered, or in the county in which the aggrieved person would have worked or would have had access to the public accommodation but for the alleged unlawful practice, but if the defendant is not found within any of these counties, an action may be brought within the county of the defendant's residence or principal office.”)
  4. Fair Employment and Housing Act 12940 -- Unlawful Practices. (“It is an unlawful employment practice, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification, or, except where based upon applicable security regulations established by the United States or the State of California: (a) For an employer, because of the race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status of any person, to refuse to hire or employ the person or to refuse to select the person for a training program leading to employment, or to bar or to discharge the person from employment or from a training program leading to employment, or to discriminate against the person in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.”)
  5. Fair Employment and Housing Act 12940, footnote 1 above.
  6. Fair Employment and Housing Act 12940 -- Unlawful Practices. (“It is an unlawful employment practice, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification, or, except where based upon applicable security regulations established by the United States or the State of California: (b) For a labor organization, because of the race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status of any person, to exclude, expel, or restrict from its membership the person, or to provide only second-class or segregated membership or to discriminate against any person because of the race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status of the person in the election of officers of the labor organization or in the selection of the labor organization's staff or to discriminate in any way against any of its members or against any employer or against any person employed by an employer.”)
  7. Fair Employment and Housing Act 12940 -- Unlawful Practices. (“It is an unlawful employment practice, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification, or, except where based upon applicable security regulations established by the United States or the State of California: (c) For any person to discriminate against any person in the selection, termination, training, or other terms or treatment of that person in any apprenticeship training program, any other training program leading to employment, an unpaid internship, or another limited duration program to provide unpaid work experience for that person because of the race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status of the person discriminated against.”)
  8. Fair Employment and Housing Act 12940 -- Unlawful Practices. (“It is an unlawful employment practice, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification, or, except where based upon applicable security regulations established by the United States or the State of California: (d) For any employer or employment agency to print or circulate or cause to be printed or circulated any publication, or to make any nonjob-related inquiry of an employee or applicant, either verbal or through use of an application form, that expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification, or discrimination as to race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status, or any intent to make any such limitation, specification, or discrimination. This part does not prohibit an employer or employment agency from inquiring into the age of an applicant, or from specifying age limitations, where the law compels or provides for that action.”)
  9. Government Code 12940 GC -- Employers, labor organizations, employment agencies and other persons; unlawful employment practice; exceptions California workplace harassment law. (“It is an unlawful employment practice, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification, or, except where based upon applicable security regulations established by the United States or the State of California: . . . (j)(1) For an employer, labor organization, employment agency, apprenticeship training program or any training program leading to employment, or any other person, because of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status, to harass an employee, an applicant, an unpaid intern or volunteer, or a person providing services pursuant to a contract. Harassment of an employee, an applicant, an unpaid intern or volunteer, or a person providing services pursuant to a contract by an employee, other than an agent or supervisor, shall be unlawful if the entity, or its agents or supervisors, knows or should have known of this conduct and fails to take immediate and appropriate corrective action. An employer may also be responsible for the acts of nonemployees, with respect to sexual harassment of employees, applicants, unpaid interns or volunteers, or persons providing services pursuant to a contract in the workplace, where the employer, or its agents or supervisors, knows or should have known of the conduct and fails to take immediate and appropriate corrective action. In reviewing cases involving the acts of nonemployees, the extent of the employer's control and any other legal responsibility that the employer may have with respect to the conduct of those nonemployees shall be considered. An entity shall take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment from occurring. Loss of tangible job benefits shall not be necessary in order to establish harassment. (2) The provisions of this subdivision are declaratory of existing law, except for the new duties imposed on employers with regard to harassment. (3) An employee of an entity subject to this subdivision is personally liable for any harassment prohibited by this section that is perpetrated by the employee, regardless of whether the employer or covered entity knows or should have known of the conduct and fails to take immediate and appropriate corrective action. . . . (5) For purposes of this subdivision, “a person providing services pursuant to a contract” means a person who meets all of the following criteria: (A) The person has the right to control the performance of the contract for services and discretion as to the manner of performance. (B) The person is customarily engaged in an independently established business. (C) The person has control over the time and place the work is performed, supplies the tools and instruments used in the work, and performs work that requires a particular skill not ordinarily used in the course of the employer's work.”)
  10. Fair Employment and Housing Act 12940 -- Unlawful Practices. (“It is an unlawful employment practice, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification, or, except where based upon applicable security regulations established by the United States or the State of California: (n) For an employer or other entity covered by this part to fail to engage in a timely, good faith, interactive process with the employee or applicant to determine effective reasonable accommodations, if any, in response to a request for reasonable accommodation by an employee or applicant with a known physical or mental disability or known medical condition.”)
  11. Same.
  12. Fair Employment and Housing Act 12960. (“(b) Any person claiming to be aggrieved by an alleged unlawful practice may file with the department a verified complaint, in writing, that shall state the name and address of the person, employer, labor organization, or employment agency alleged to have committed the unlawful practice complained of, and that shall set forth the particulars thereof and contain other information as may be required by the department. The director or his or her authorized representative may in like manner, on his or her own motion, make, sign, and file a complaint.”)
  13. Fair Employment and Housing Act 12960. (“(d) No complaint may be filed after the expiration of one year from the date upon which the alleged unlawful practice or refusal to cooperate occurred, except that this period may be extended as follows: (1) For a period of time not to exceed 90 days following the expiration of that year, if a person allegedly aggrieved by an unlawful practice first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged unlawful practice after the expiration of one year from the date of their occurrence. (2) For a period of time not to exceed one year following a rebutted presumption of the identity of the person's employer under Section 12928 , in order to allow a person allegedly aggrieved by an unlawful practice to make a substitute identification of the actual employer. (3) For a period of time, not to exceed one year from the date the person aggrieved by an alleged violation of Section 51.7 of the Civil Code becomes aware of the identity of a person liable for the alleged violation, but in no case exceeding three years from the date of the alleged violation if during that period the aggrieved person is unaware of the identity of any person liable for the alleged violation. (4) For a period of time not to exceed one year from the date that a person allegedly aggrieved by an unlawful practice attains the age of majority.”)
  14. Fair Employment and Housing Act 12921. (“(a) The opportunity to seek, obtain, and hold employment without discrimination because of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status is hereby recognized as and declared to be a civil right.”)
  15. Government Code 12960 GC -- Procedure for prevention and elimination of unlawful employment practices; application of article; complaints; limitations wrongful termination based on retaliation for harassment/discrimination complaints. ("(d) No complaint may be filed after the expiration of one year from the date upon which the alleged unlawful practice or refusal to cooperate occurred . . .")
  16. Fair Employment and Housing Act 12965 -- Unlawful Practices. (“(b) ... In civil actions brought under this section, the court, in its discretion, may award to the prevailing party, including the department, reasonable attorney's fees and costs, including expert witness fees.”)
  17. California Civil Code 3294 -- Exemplary Damages. (“(a) In an action for the breach of an obligation not arising from contract, where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice, the plaintiff, in addition to the actual damages, may recover damages for the sake of example and by way of punishing the defendant.”)
  18. Government Code 12940 GC -- Employers, labor organizations, employment agencies and other persons; unlawful employment practice; exceptions FEHA wrongful termination / retaliation. ("It is an unlawful employment practice, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification, or, except where based upon applicable security regulations established by the United States or the State of California: . . . (h) For any employer, labor organization, employment agency, or person to discharge, expel, or otherwise discriminate against any person because the person has opposed any practices forbidden under this part or because the person has filed a complaint, testified, or assisted in any proceeding under this part.")
  19. California Code of Regulations (CCR) tit. 2, § 11021. ("a) FEHA Retaliation Generally. It is unlawful for an employer or other covered entity to demote, suspend, reduce, fail to hire or consider for hire, fail to give equal consideration in making employment decisions, fail to treat impartially in the context of any recommendations for subsequent employment that the employer or other covered entity may make, adversely affect working conditions or otherwise deny any employment benefit to an individual because that individual has opposed practices prohibited by the Act or has filed a complaint, testified, assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing conducted by the Council or Department or its staff. (1) Opposition to practices prohibited by the Act includes, but is not limited to: (A) Seeking the advice of the Department or Council, whether or not a complaint is filed, and if a complaint is filed, whether or not the complaint is ultimately sustained; (B) Assisting or advising any person in seeking the advice of the Department or Council, whether or not a complaint is filed, and if a complaint is filed, whether or not the complaint is ultimately sustained; (C) Opposing employment practices that an individual reasonably believes to exist and believes to be a violation of the Act; (D) Participating in an activity that is perceived by the employer or other covered entity as opposition to discrimination, whether or not so intended by the individual expressing the opposition; or (E) Contacting, communicating with or participating in the proceeding of a local human rights or civil rights agency regarding employment discrimination on a basis enumerated in the Act.")

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