Wrongful Termination in Violation of the
California Fair Employment and Housing Act
(FEHA Retaliation)

Wrongful termination in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (the "FEHA") occurs when an employer fires or otherwise retaliates against an employee who:

  • Opposes workplace harassment, employment discrimination or an employer's failure to grant required pregnancy/family leave;
  • Files a complaint about harassment or discrimination; 
  • Testifies or assists in any proceeding under the FEHA;1 or
  • Requests workplace accommodations for their religious beliefs or observance or for a disability.2

Under California employment law, FEHA wrongful termination or retaliation can be the basis for a lawsuit against your employer. It is a form of public policy wrongful termination.

Examples

Below are several examples of employees who might be able to sue their employers for wrongful termination/workplace retaliation in violation of the FEHA:

  • Christina experiences sexual harassment at the hands of a supervisor. She reports that harassment to a human resources manager, and the supervisor is disciplined. The supervisor then fabricates a negative performance review and uses that as a basis to have Christina fired.
  • Sergio witnesses several coworkers committing national origin harassment against a colleague who is from Pakistan. When that colleague files a workplace harassment lawsuit against the company, Sergio serves as a witness. Several weeks later, he is "laid off."
  • Lu is a nurse and a Seventh-Day Adventist. After being hired at a long-term care facility, she asks her supervisor if he can avoid assigning her to shifts on Saturdays because that is when she observes the Sabbath. Days later, she is told that her employment is "not working out" and is fired.
Woman-leaving-office-with-belongings
If you are terminated from your job in retaliation for complaining about harassment or discrimination, you have a legal right to take action against your employer.

What are my options if I am a victim of FEHA retaliation?

If your employer terminates or otherwise retaliates against you for engaging in activities protected by the FEHA, there are three steps you can take:

  1. If you are still employed, report the retaliation to a supervisor or your employer's human resources department.
  2. File a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
  3. After receiving a "right to sue" notice from DFEH, file an FEHA wrongful termination / retaliation lawsuit against your employer. 

In this article, our California employment lawyers answer the following frequently asked questions about FEHA retaliation:

If you have further questions after reading this article, please do not hesitate to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

1. What is Wrongful Termination / Retaliation under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act?

California's Fair Employment and Housing Act--the state's main law prohibiting workplace harassment and employment discrimination--specifically prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the FEHA.3

Such retaliation may consist of wrongful termination (i.e., firing the employee), but it can also consist of less extreme measures like demoting the employee, reducing his/her pay, giving him/her less desirable work assignments--or even mistreatment that rises to the level of wrongful constructive termination.

Gavel-and-scales
The legal definition of FEHA retaliation centers around an adverse employment action that is motivated by an employee's FEHA-protected activity.

The legal definition of FEHA retaliation under California employment law has four main "elements":

  1. An employee engaged in a protected activity under the FEHA;
  2. His/her employer discharged, demoted, constructively terminated or otherwise took an adverse employment action against the employee; 
  3. The employee's FEHA protected activity was a substantial motivating reason for the adverse employment action; and
  4. The adverse employment action was a substantial factor in causing harm to the employee.4

Let's take a closer look at these individual components of the definition of wrongful termination under the FEHA.

1.1. Termination / retaliation for a "protected activity" under FEHA

In order to have a claim against your employer for FEHA wrongful termination or retaliation, you must have engaged in an activity that is protected by the FEHA.5

The major FEHA-protected activities are:

1.1.1. FEHA retaliation for opposing harassment/discrimination or failure to grant pregnancy leave

Your employer may not terminate or retaliate against you for opposing any practice by an employer that is forbidden under the FEHA.6

This includes:

  • Workplace harassment (either sexual harassment or non-sexual harassment on the basis of race, religion, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, age, etc.);7
  • Employment discrimination on any basis (race, sex, religion, age, disability, national origin, sexual orientation);8 and 
  • Failure by an employer to meet its obligations to provide pregnancy leave and family leave under the California Family Rights Act and the California Pregnancy Disability Act.9
Two-women-talking-one-taking-notes
Opposing or reporting workplace harassment or discrimination is protected activity under California FEHA retaliation law.

Opposing this kind of FEHA-prohibited practice may mean any of the following:

  1. Seeking the advice of a state agency about a possible harassment or discrimination situation;
  2. Assisting or advising another person who is seeking the advice of a state agency;
  3. Opposing employment practices that you reasonably believe to exist and believe to be a violation of the FEHA;
  4. Participating in an activity that the employer perceives as opposition to discrimination/harassment; or
  5. Contacting or communicating with a local human rights agency about activity you believe to be harassment or discrimination.10

Example: Corinne is the human resources director at a family-owned company. One of the employees is pregnant and would be eligible for pregnancy leave under California law. But the owner of the company tells Corinne to lie to the employee and tell her that she is not eligible.

Corinne refuses to do this. As a result, the company owner fires her.

Corinne has experienced FEHA wrongful termination for opposing a practice forbidden by the FEHA.

What if you oppose conduct at your employer that you believe is illegal harassment or discrimination--but it later turns out you are wrong?

If your employer retaliated against you on this basis, it is still unlawful FEHA retaliation--as long as you reasonably and in good faith believed that what you were opposing met the definition of harassment or discrimination.11

Example: Paul is a waiter at a chain restaurant. He is the only gay employee. He experiences behavior on the part of one supervisor that he believes might constitute sexual orientation harassment. Paul complains about this to the HR department of the restaurant's headquarters.

After Paul complains, the harassing behavior stops. But he notices that the same supervisor is assigning him to very few shifts, and the shifts he does get are the ones that allow him to earn very little in tips. 

Paul later discovers after speaking to a lawyer that the supervisor's behavior, though offensive, didn't quite meet the stringent definition of sexual orientation harassment under the FEHA. But because Paul reasonably believed it did, he still may have a case against his employer for his supervisor's unlawful FEHA retaliation.

1.1.2. FEHA retaliation for filing a workplace harassment / employment discrimination complaint

It is also against the law for your employer to terminate or retaliate against you for filing a complaint about harassment, discrimination or other unlawful employment practices with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).12

Sexual-harassment-complaint-form
It is FEHA wrongful termination for your employer to fire you for filing a complaint about an FEHA violation.

Filing such a complaint is typically one of the first steps a California employee can take when s/he is the victim of harassment or discrimination in the workplace

(Retaliation for this FEHA-protected activity is essentially a form of whistleblower retaliation under California law.)

1.1.3. Wrongful termination/retaliation for assisting in an FEHA proceeding

Another form of FEHA-protected activity for which your employer may not retaliate against you is assisting in any proceeding under the FEHA.13

This can mean either an investigation of your employer for potential FEHA violations by the DFEH or another state agency, or a lawsuit arising out of alleged FEHA violations.

Example: Miguel's co-worker Rachel sues the company they work for, alleging that she was sexually harassed.

Miguel witnessed some of the events that led to Rachel's lawsuit. He agrees to be deposed by Rachel's employment lawyer about these events and agrees that his testimony may be used as evidence if her case goes to trial.

Shortly after that, Miguel is fired from his job, which is at-will, with no explanation given.

Miguel may have been wrongfully terminated for participating in a proceeding under the FEHA.

1.1.4. FEHA wrongful termination for reasonable accommodations requests

California's FEHA retaliation law also specifies that is illegal for your employer to terminate or retaliate against you in any way for:

  1. Requesting reasonable accommodations for your religious beliefs or observance; or
  2. Requesting reasonable accommodations for a physical or mental disability.14
Muslim-female-employee-in-office
Your employer may not retaliate against you for requesting reasonable accommodations for religious belief.

FEHA wrongful termination or retaliation in response to a reasonable accommodations request is illegal regardless of whether your employer chose to provide the accommodation.15

Example: Max is a talented computer programmer with autism spectrum disorder. This condition means that he has a very hard time interacting with strangers.

Max has just started a new job as a software developer at a technology company. He learns that the company expects its current software developers to help interview applicants for similar positions--even though that task was not listed in the written job description. Max asks his supervisor if he can be excused from that part of the job because of his problems with social interactions.

The company agrees. But a few weeks later, Max is fired with no reason given.

The company may have terminated Max because of his request for accommodations for his disability--which could mean that Max can sue under the FEHA for wrongful termination.

1.2. What is an "adverse action" in FEHA retaliation law?

In order for you to have a case against your employer for FEHA retaliation, your employer needs to have taken an "adverse action" against you.

An adverse action does NOT have to mean something as serious and final as the loss of your job or a demotion.

Instead, an adverse action is any pattern of behavior that materially and adversely affects the terms, conditions and privileges of your employment--for example, by impairing your ability to do your job effectively, or your prospects for advancement or promotion.16

Man-being-fired
FEHA retaliation can consist of termination from a job or less extreme retaliatory behavior.

This pattern of behavior might consist of a series of acts which, individually, would not be enough to constitute retaliation--but do add up to unlawful FEHA retaliation when they are taken as a whole.17

However, minor or trivial behavior that is likely only to anger or upset you--but is not likely to affect your job prospects or performance--does not count as an "adverse action" for purposes of FEHA retaliation law.18

Who can commit an adverse action in FEHA retaliation law?

In most FEHA retaliation cases, the adverse employment action is committed by a supervisor with authority over you.

In some cases, you can sue your employer for FEHA retaliation even if the actions against you were taken by coworkers rather than supervisors. For coworker behavior to give rise to a case of retaliation or constructive termination in violation of the FEHA, it also needs to be the case that a supervisor knew about the coworkers' retaliatory behavior and either

  • participated in or encouraged it, or
  • failed to take reasonable action to stop it.19

1.3. How do I show a causal connection between the retaliation and my FEHA protected activities?

One of the most challenging aspects of an FEHA wrongful termination or retaliation lawsuit is the requirement that you show a causal connection between your FEHA protected activities and the adverse employment action that your employer took against you.

In order to show that you were the victim of FEHA retaliation or wrongful termination, you need to be able to show that your protected activities were a "substantial motivating reason" for the actions that were taken against you.20

Man-taking-notes-in-employment-investigation
In order to prevail in an FEHA retaliation lawsuit, you need to be able to show a causal relationship between your protected activities and an adverse employment action.

"Substantial motivating reason" means a non-remote, non-trivial reason that actually contributed to the decision to take an adverse action against you. It does not mean that your FEHA-protected activities need to be the only reason for the adverse action.21

Circumstantial evidence, such as proximity in time between your FEHA-protected activities and the adverse employment actions, can be used to show the necessary causal connection.22

Example: Bill is a teacher at a private high school. He had generally been outspoken about issues on which he doesn't agree with the school's principal, Teresa, which means that Teresa privately dislikes Bill.

One of the teachers at the school files a compliant with DFEH, alleging that the administration practiced race-based discrimination against minority teachers. Bill agrees with the allegations and assists this teacher and her lawyer with preparations for their case.

At the end of that school year, Teresa tells Bill she will not be renewing his teaching contract for the following year.

Teresa has always disliked Bill, and it is possible that his involvement in the DFEH investigation was not the only reason for his termination. But the timing of his firing suggests that it could have been a substantial motivating reason--and thus he could be the victim of wrongful termination for FEHA-protected activities.

1.4. Do I still have an FEHA wrongful termination case if my employer claims it had a reason to fire me anyway?

Sometimes employers will try to defend themselves against FEHA wrongful termination lawsuits with a defense known as "after-acquired evidence."

The after-acquired evidence defense basically says that, after wrongfully terminating you for FEHA-protected activities, the employer discovered evidence of wrongdoing on your part that would have justified firing you anyway. If this is truly the case, then you may not be able to collect damages from your employer for your termination in violation of the FEHA.23

Fired_employee_carrying_belongings
Employers sometimes defend themselves against FEHA wrongful termination suits by arguing that they had independent cause to terminate the plaintiff.

But in order for this to defense to apply, the employer needs to show three things:

  1. You committed misconduct in connection with your job;
  2. The misconduct was severe enough that your employer would have terminated your employment because of that misconduct alone if s/he had known about it; and
  3. It would have been in keeping with settled company policy to discharge you for that conduct.24

In other words, after-acquired evidence will only limit your ability to collect damages in an FEHA wrongful termination suit if your misconduct was quite serious--such as lying on your job application or violating the law or important company policy on the job. Subpar job performance is not enough.

2. How Can I File a Complaint or Lawsuit if I Experience Wrongful Termination or FEHA Retaliation?

The process for taking legal action in response to FEHA wrongful termination or retaliation is the same as that for other FEHA violations such as harassment or discrimination.

First, if the retaliation consists of adverse action at work (rather than termination), then you should strongly consider first discussing the issue with a member of the human resources staff at your employer, or a supervisor other than the one who is retaliating against you. This measure may lead to the reversal of the actions that have been taken against you.

DFEH complaint

But if you are unable to resolve the problem within your company, or if you have been terminated from your job in violation of the FEHA, then your next step is to file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). This step is required before an employee can file a lawsuit over FEHA wrongful termination or retaliation.25

DFEH's website offers an online form for submitting a retaliation complaint--or a pre-complaint inquiry for people who are not sure that they are ready to submit a full complaint. 

FEHA retaliation lawsuits

When you file your FEHA termination/retaliation complaint with the DFEH, as described above, you have two options:

  1. Request that DFEH issue a "right to sue" notice immediately, or
  2. Decline to make such a request. In this case, DFEH will still issue a "right to sue" notice--but only after they have conducted and completed an investigation of your retaliation complaint.
Gavel-representing-FEHA-retaliation-lawsuit
You can sue your employer for FEHA retaliation once you receive a "right to sue" notice from DFEH.

Whichever option you choose, you may file a lawsuit in California Superior Court over FEHA retaliation only once you have received a "right to sue" notice from DFEH.26

2.1. What is the statute of limitations for FEHA complaints about wrongful termination or retaliation?

The deadline (statute of limitations) for filing an FEHA complaint is one (1) year from the date of your termination or the retaliation against you.27

The statute of limitations for filing an FEHA wrongful termination or retaliation lawsuit is one (1) year after the "right to sue" notice is issued to you by the DFEH.28

2.2. What damages can I recover for FEHA retaliation in California?

There are several different types of financial damages that are available to California plaintiffs in wrongful termination suits--including FEHA wrongful termination suits.

Potential damages for a successful FEHA retaliation suit include:

  1. Lost wages and benefits--the lost pay and benefits that you could reasonably have expected to earn had you not been wrongfully terminated for FEHA-protected activities, minus amounts you actually earned from substantially similar employment after you were fired;29
  2. Damages for emotional distress/pain and suffering arising from the retaliation against you--including compensation for physical pain, mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and anxiety;30
  3. Attorney's fees--California law allows judges to award attorney's fees to successful plaintiffs in FEHA retaliation suits;31 and
  4. Punitive damages--which are designed to punish the employer for its behavior and are only awarded in FEHA wrongful termination or retaliation cases where the employer's behavior involved fraud, oppression or malice.

Call us for help...

Employment-law-firm-call-center

For questions about wrongful termination or retaliation in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, or to discuss your case confidentially with one of our skilled California labor and employment 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.


Legal References:

  1. 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.")
  2. Government Code 12940 GC -- Employers, labor organizations, employment agencies and other persons; unlawful employment practice; exceptions [FEHA wrongful termination for requesting accommodation]. ("(l) . . . (4) For an employer or other entity covered by this part to, in addition to the employee protections provided pursuant to subdivision (h), retaliate or otherwise discriminate against a person for requesting accommodation [for religious practices] under this subdivision, regardless of whether the request was granted. . . .(m) . . . (2) For an employer or other entity covered by this part to, in addition to the employee protections provided pursuant to subdivision (h), retaliate or otherwise discriminate against a person for requesting accommodation [for disability] under this subdivision, regardless of whether the request was granted.")
  3. Government Code 12940 GC -- Employers, labor organizations, employment agencies and other persons; unlawful employment practice; exceptions [FEHA wrongful termination / retaliation], endnote 1 above.
  4. Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions ("CACI") 2505 -- [FEHA] Retaliation—Essential Factual Elements (Gov. Code, § 12940(h)). ("[Name of plaintiff] claims that [name of defendant] retaliated against [him/her] for [describe activity protected by the FEHA]. To establish this claim, [name of plaintiff] must prove all of the following: 1. That [name of plaintiff] [describe protected activity; 2. [That [name of defendant] [discharged/demoted/[specify other adverse employment action]] [name of plaintiff];] [or] [That [name of defendant] subjected [name of plaintiff] to an adverse employment action;] [or] [That [name of plaintiff] was constructively discharged;] 2. That [name of plaintiff]'s [describe protected activity] was a substantial motivating reason for [name of defendant]'s [decision to [discharge/demote/[specify other adverse employment action]] [name of plaintiff]/conduct]; 3. That [name of plaintiff] was harmed; and 4. That [name of defendant]'s decision to [discharge/demote/[specify other adverse employment action]] [name of plaintiff] was a substantial factor in causing [him/her] harm. [[Name of plaintiff] does not have to prove [discrimination/harassment] in order to be protected from retaliation. If [he/she] [reasonably believed that [name of defendant]'s conduct was unlawful/requested a [disability/religious] accommodation], [he/she] may prevail on a retaliation claim even if [he/she] does not present, or prevail on, a separate claim for [discrimination/harassment/[other]].]")
  5. Same.
  6. Government Code 12940 GC -- Employers, labor organizations, employment agencies and other persons; unlawful employment practice; exceptions [FEHA wrongful termination / retaliation], endnote 1 above.
  7. Government Code 12940(j) GC -- California harassment law.
  8. Government Code 12940(a) GC -- California employment discrimination law.
  9. Government Code 12945 GC -- Pregnancy Disability Act; Government Code 12945.2 GC -- Family Rights Act.
  10. 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.")
  11. Miller v. Department of Corr. (2005) 36 Cal.4th 446, 473-74. ("[U]nder certain circumstances, a [FEHA] retaliation claim may be brought by an employee who has complained of or opposed conduct, even when a court or jury subsequently determines the conduct actually was not prohibited by the FEHA. Indeed, this precept is well settled. An employee is protected against retaliation if the employee reasonably and in good faith believed that what he or she was opposing constituted unlawful employer conduct such as sexual harassment or sexual discrimination.”)
  12. Government Code 12940 GC -- Employers, labor organizations, employment agencies and other persons; unlawful employment practice; exceptions [FEHA wrongful termination / retaliation], endnote 1 above.
  13. Same.
  14. Government Code 12940 GC -- Employers, labor organizations, employment agencies and other persons; unlawful employment practice; exceptions [FEHA wrongful termination for requesting accommodation], endnote 2 above.
  15. Same.
  16. CACI 2509 -- "Adverse Employment Action" Explained. ("[Name of plaintiff] [in an FEHA wrongful termination / retaliation suit] must prove that [he/she] was subjected to an adverse employment action. Adverse employment actions are not limited to ultimate actions such as termination or demotion. There is an adverse employment action if [name of defendant] has taken an action or engaged in a course or pattern of conduct that, taken as a whole, materially and adversely affected the terms, conditions, or privileges of [name of plaintiff]'s employment. An adverse employment action includes conduct that is reasonably likely to impair a reasonable employee's job performance or prospects for advancement or promotion. However, minor or trivial actions or conduct that is not reasonably likely to do more than anger or upset an employee cannot constitute an adverse employment action.")
  17. CACI 2509 -- "Adverse Employment Action" Explained -- Directions for Use. ("For example, the case may involve a pattern of employer harassment consisting of acts that might not individually be sufficient to constitute discrimination or retaliation, but taken as a whole establish prohibited conduct.")
  18. CACI 2509 -- "Adverse Employment Action" Explained, endnote 16 above.
  19. Kelley v. The Conco Cos. (2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 191, 214. ("We therefore hold that an employer may be held liable for coworker retaliatory conduct [under the FEHA] if the employer knew or should have known of coworker retaliatory conduct and either participated and encouraged the conduct, or failed to take reasonable actions to end the retaliatory conduct.”)
  20. CACI 2505 -- [FEHA] Retaliation—Essential Factual Elements (Gov. Code, § 12940(h)), endnote 4 above.
  21. CACI 2507 -- “Substantial Motivating Reason” [for FEHA retaliation] Explained. ("A “substantial motivating reason” is a reason that actually contributed to the [specify adverse employment action]. It must be more than a remote or trivial reason. It does not have to be the only reason motivating the [adverse employment action].")
  22. Colarossi v. Coty US Inc. (2002) 97 Cal.App.4th 1142, 1153. ("“Both direct and circumstantial evidence can be used to show an employer's intent to retaliate [in violation of the FEHA]. ‘Direct evidence of retaliation may consist of remarks made by decisionmakers displaying a retaliatory motive.' Circumstantial evidence typically relates to such factors as the plaintiff's job performance, the timing of events, and how the plaintiff was treated in comparison to other workers.”)
  23. CACI 2506 -- Limitation on Remedies [in FEHA wrongful termination suits]—After-Acquired Evidence. ("[Name of defendant] claims that [he/she/it] would have discharged [name of plaintiff] anyway if [he/she/it] had known that [name of plaintiff] [describe misconduct]. You must decide whether [name of defendant] has proved all of the following: 1. That [name of plaintiff] [describe misconduct]; 2. That [name of plaintiff]'s misconduct was sufficiently severe that [name of defendant] would have discharged [him/her] because of that misconduct alone had [name of defendant] known of it; and 3. That [name of defendant] would have discharged [name of plaintiff] for [his/her] misconduct as a matter of settled company policy.")
  24. Same.
  25. Government Code 12965 GC --  Civil action in name of department; group or class complaint; relief; tolling of statute of limitations [FEHA retaliation lawsuits]. ("(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. This notice shall indicate that the person claiming to be aggrieved may bring a civil action under this part against the person, employer, labor organization, or employment agency named in the verified complaint within one year from the date of that notice. If the person claiming to be aggrieved does not request a right-to-sue notice, the department shall issue the notice upon completion of its investigation, and not later than one year after the filing of the complaint.")
  26. Same. See also Government Code 12963 GC -- Investigation by department after filing of complaint. ("After the filing of any complaint alleging facts sufficient to constitute a violation of any of the provisions of this part [including California law against retaliation for FEHA-protected activities], the department shall make prompt investigation in connection therewith.")
  27. Government Code 12960 GC -- Procedure for prevention and elimination of unlawful employment practices; application of article; complaints; limitations [FEHA retaliation complaints to DFEH]. ("(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 . . .")
  28. Government Code 12965 GC --  Civil action in name of department; group or class complaint; relief; tolling of statute of limitations [FEHA retaliation lawsuits].
  29. CACI 2433 --  Wrongful Discharge in Violation of Public Policy [including FEHA wrongful termination]—Damages. ("If you find that [name of defendant] [discharged/constructively discharged] [name of plaintiff] in violation of public policy, then you must decide the amount of damages that [name of plaintiff] has proven [he/she] is entitled to recover, if any. To make that decision, you must: 1. Decide the amount that [name of plaintiff] would have earned up to today, including any benefits and pay increases; [and] 2. Add the present cash value of any future wages and benefits that [he/she] would have earned for the length of time the employment with [name of defendant] was reasonably certain to continue; [and] 3. [Add damages for [describe any other damages that were allegedly caused by defendant's conduct, e.g., “emotional distress”] if you find that [name of defendant]'s conduct was a substantial factor in causing that harm.]")
  30. Same.
  31. Government Code 12965(b) GC [attorney's fees for FEHA retaliation suit]. ("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.")
  32. Civil Code 3294 -- Exemplary damages; when allowable; definitions. ("(a) In an action for the breach of an obligation not arising from contract [such as FEHA retaliation], 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.")

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