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How to File an Employment Legal Complaint in California?

April 28, 2023 Legal Team

Employment laws in California are in place to ensure fair and just treatment of employees in the workplace. However, despite the laws and regulations, employers sometimes violate these rights. If you believe your rights as an employee have been violated, you have the right to file an employment legal complaint, and here is how.

Step 1: Identify the Type of Employment Complaint

The first step is to identify the type of complaint you have. In California, there are different types of complaints, such as discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, wage and hour violations, and retaliation. Then gather as much evidence as possible, such as copies of pertinent written documentation (e.g., emails, letters, performance reviews, disciplinary actions, etc.), contact information for witnesses and statements, audio or video recordings if available, medical records if applicable, pay stubs or other financial records, copies of employment policies and procedures, etc.

Step 2: Contact the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is responsible for enforcing California’s employment laws. You can file a complaint with DFEH by calling their toll-free number at 1-800-884-1684 or visiting their website.

Step 3: File a Complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

In addition to filing a complaint with DFEH, you can also file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC enforces federal employment laws. You can file a complaint on their website or by calling their toll-free number at 1-800-669-4000.

Step 4: Consider Hiring an Employment Attorney

While you can file a complaint independently, consulting with a trusted Orange County employment law attorney is advisable. A lawyer can help file your claim, navigate the legal process, represent you in court, and negotiate a settlement on your behalf.

Step 5: Wait for a Response

After filing a complaint, you will have to wait for a response from the DFEH or EEOC. The agencies will investigate your complaint and determine if there is sufficient evidence to support your claims. If they find evidence of wrongdoing, they will attempt to resolve the matter through mediation or negotiate a settlement.

How an Attorney Can Help You With Your Employment Legal Complaint

An attorney can be an incredibly valuable asset when filing an employment legal complaint. Here are some of the ways that they can help:

Review Your Case

A lawyer can review the facts of your case to determine if you have a valid claim and identify any potential legal issues that may arise.

Provide Legal Advice

An employment lawyer can provide legal advice on your rights and the legal process. They can explain your options, provide guidance on the best course of action, and help you understand the potential outcomes.

Gather Evidence

An attorney can help you gather the evidence needed to support your complaint. For example, they can assist in obtaining witness statements, medical records, and other documentation to strengthen your case.

Draft and File the Complaint

They will draft the legal complaint on your behalf and file it with the appropriate agency or court.


An attorney can represent you in negotiations with your employer or their legal representation. They can also fight for your case in court, presenting your argument to a judge or jury and advocating for your rights.

Lastly, a lawyer can help you evaluate any settlement offers that are made and advise you on whether to accept or reject them to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.