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Is the DFEH Notice To Complainant of Right-to- sue strong enough to file a civil lawsuit or wait until the EEOC ?

Blythe, CA |

EEOC notified DFEH of the charge filed under Title VII of Civil Rights. " Since DFEH will not be issuing an accusation, this letter is also your right-to-sue notice. "

Attorney Answers 4


  1. The right to sue notice you received from the DFEH means you can file a lawsuit for unlawful discrimination in state court for the charges you indicated in your complaint form. It appears you filed your complaint with the EEOC, which would then be the lead agency. Since the DFEH will not be taking any action, it automatically issued a right to sue notice, allowing you to file suit within one year of the date of the letter. This is a very important date for you to keep track of. If and when the EEOC sends you a right to sue notice, you will only have 90 days to file an action in federal court.

    Most employment law attorneys would recommend a discrimination lawsuit be filed in state court whenever possible for several reasons. You absolutely must consult with experienced employment law counsel about your case. This is a very tricky area and if you make any mistakes in the administrative procedure, it could be fatal to any potential lawsuit you may have.

    They say you get what you pay for, and this response is free, so take it for what it is worth. This is my opinion based on very limited information. My opinion should not be taken as legal advice. For true advice, we would require a confidential consultation where I would ask you questions and get your complete story. This is a public forum, so remember, nothing here is confidential. Nor am I your attorney. I do not know who you are and you have not hired me to provide any legal service. To do so would require us to meet and sign written retainer agreement. My responses are intended for general information only.


  2. Without the letter in front of me, I cannot give a definitive answer. However, based on the quoted language it appears that you can file a civil lawsuit under Title VII because the letter is your "right-to-sue." Keep in mind the time limitations to file suit that should also be contained in that letter or else your complaint will be time barred.


  3. Your headline post suggests you are wondering if the issuance of the right to sue letter is "strong enough" to sue. The issuance of a right to sue letter means nothing in terms of the strength of weakness of your case. It is simply an administrative step in the process that occurs even if the agency thought your case was completely without merit.

    No not wait for an EEOC determination. The fact that you got a right to sue from the DFEH means all administrative activity has ended. You now must file your lawsuit to preserve your rights.

    Now is the time to locate and consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible to explore your facts and determine your options. I would suggest you look either on this site in the Find a Lawyer section, or go to www.cela.org, the home page for the California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization whose members are dedicated to the representation of employees against their employers.

    Good luck to you.

    This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.


  4. You should write down and make sure that you keep track of the document and the date that the right-to-sue was issued. Generally speaking, the DFEH right-to-sue (RTS) notice signals that you can file a Complaint in court about one year from the date that you received the RTS letter.

    You should seek advice / assistance from an employment attorney immediately because it is critical that you allege your claims adequately, correctly, and completely before the DFEH or EEOC. Furthermore, it is very important to know WHAT claims you are trying to pursue under federal or state law and WHY you are pursuing state or federal claims. An attorney can help you make sure that you keep track of your deadlines so that you don't have any statute of limitations issues.

    Luckily, most Plaintiff-side employment attorneys will offer a free consultation, and will represent you on a contingency basis (no hourly fee). I would recommend that you spend a good amount of time finding an attorney who is well respected and knowledgeable in the field of employment law.

    Any post of discussion above is general in nature and is not intended to should not be construed as legal advice. Furthermore, the above posting does not create or establish any attorney-client relationship. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. [John D. Wu is licensed to practice law before all California federal and state courts]

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