Legislature approves Wieckowski's bill to improve DFEH's ability to resolve civil rights complaints

September 3, 2021

SACRAMENTO – The state Senate today approved SB 807, a bill by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), to update and enhance civil rights enforcement and improve government efficiency in the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The bill was approved without opposition and goes to Governor Newsom for his consideration.

SB 807 allows the DFEH to serve administrative complaints through electronic service to save costs. It also updates the Fair Employment and Housing Act to specify the deadlines by which people must file complaints with DFEH. It creates greater parity with the department and its federal counterpart, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The bill also lengthens the time that employers must keep relevant records to reflect the longer time people can file employment discrimination complaints. SB 807 encourages voluntary settlements by tolling the statute of limitations to file a civil action while a complaint is pending with the department’s Dispute Resolution Division.

“All of these changes in SB 807 will improve the department’s work on behalf of California, increase savings and enable it to more effectively address the thousands of complaints before the DFEH,” said Wieckowski, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “By implementing these steps, the department can better enforce our civil rights laws to fight unlawful discrimination and harassment in employment, housing, businesses and state-funded programs.”

The Legislature made the DFEH a prosecutorial agency in 2012. In 2019, the department received over 28,700 intakes and filed more than 22,500 complaints, included over 15,000 right-to-sue notices and took on thousands of new investigations. It has substantially expanded its trainings, educational materials and outreach to businesses, housing providers, community groups and individuals.

Senator Wieckowski represents the 10th Senate District, which includes parts of Alameda and Santa Clara counties.