New Procedural Regulations from DFEHWinter 2011 – Newsletters California Update
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing issued new regulations governing the procedures for administrative complaints. The regulations became effective on October 7 of this year and are codified at Title 2, California Code of Regulations, sections 10000 through 10066. Although the new regulations are said to merely codify the agency’s existing directives on how to handle administrative complaints, some of the regulations actually depart from past practices.
Significantly, the DFEH will no longer require the charging party to sign the complaint. Although a complaint is required by statute to be “verified,” the regulations provide that the complaint may be signed by anyone “authorized” by the charging party. Verification may be done by oath or affidavit, though the regulations do not specify that it needs to be written to be effective. The DFEH will now even accept an unsigned complaint for filing when no one is able to sign it before the statute of limitations expires. The DFEH has also codified its liberal construction of complaints. It will construe complaints to include all claims supported by the alleged facts, regardless of whether such claims are expressly asserted by the complainant. Consequently, if the facts alleged in an age discrimination complaint also support a claim of harassment, the DFEH will construe the complaint to include both claims, even if the claimant did not assert a claim of harassment.
These changes will make it even easier for claimants to file complaints against their employers and more difficult for employers to assert that employees failed to exhaust administrative remedies.