DFEH UPDATE Phyllis W. Cheng | Director California Department of Fair Employment and Housing www.dfeh.ca.gov
Mission and Jurisdiction To protect Californians from employment, housing and public accommodations discrimination, and hate violence. • Fair Employment and Housing Act (Gov. Code, § 12900 et seq.). • Disabled Persons Act (Civ. Code, § 54 et seq.). • Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civ. Code, § 51 et seq.). • Ralph Civil Rights Act (Civ. Code, § 51.7).
DFEH Innovations and Efficiencies • Automation: implemented appointment and Right-to-Sue systems; deploying new cloud-based Case Management System. • Intake reform: implement telephone intake; cease in-person intake . • Office consolidations: 50% overhead reductions. • Staff development: monthly training; no layoffs; 50% promotions. • Triage investigations: developed case grading system to triage cases. • Target systemic discrimination: Reestablish Special Investigations Unit. • Maximize statutory authority: file Director’s, group/class complaints. • Dispute resolution: develop new Mediation Division. • Regulatory reform: Issue procedural regulations and rescind underground regulations. • New partnerships: DFEH-UC|CSU|Community College clinical programs; training future civil rights lawyers & investigators; pipeline program. • Outreach: in-person, webinars and social media outreach. • Contract compliance: revitalizing Office of Compliance Programs.
Staffing Budget Complaints Settlements
DFEH v. Verizon$6 Million Class Action Settlement • On January 19, 2012, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr gave final approval of the $6,011,190 California Family Rights Act (CFRA) class action settlement in Dept. Fair Empl. & Hous. v. Verizon (Seales) (Super. Ct. L.A. County, No. BC444066). • The final settlement resulted in payment of $4,490,041 from the maximum settlement amount to 687 qualified claimants as follows: • Tier 1: Claimants who experienced improper denial of their application for leave under the California Family Rights Act will receive a check for $3,000; • Tier 2: Claimants who were subject to discipline for poor attendance due to absences under the California Family Rights Act will receive a check for $6,000. • Tier 3: Claimants who were terminated or constructively terminated in violation of the California Family Rights Act will receive a check for $25,000 or more.
DFEH Clinical Programs • DFEH-UC Irvine School of Law Civil Rights Clinic. • DFEH-UCD Davis School of Law Employment Discrimination Program. • DFEH-CSU Bakersfield Graduate School Civil Rights Clinic. • DFEH-College of the Canyons Civil Rights Clinic. • DFEH-Rio Hondo College Housing Rights Clinic. • DFEH Civil Rights Graduate Fellowships (Graduate Legal Assistant Program).
DFEH Procedural Regulations • California Code of Regulations, title 2, sections 10000-100066. • Citable. • Intake to accusation. • Most DFEH Directives rescinded.
DFEH Outreach • In-person outreach 2008-2011: 516 events. • Employment Round Tables. • Web site: www.dfeh.ca.gov. • Webinars: MCLE and HRCI provider. • New Fairtimes Newsletter , Monthly Calendars, and Listserv. • State Bar: Case Law Alert; Articles; Labor & Employment and Real Property Law Section Executive Committees; Fair Housing Public Accommodations Subsection; Rutter Guide; Matthew Bender. • Social media: YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter.
Fair Employment and Housing Commission SB 1038 (Stat. 2012, ch. 46) signed into law by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., on June 27, 2012 would: • Eliminate the Fair Employment and Housing Commission effective January 1, 2013, resulting in General Fund savings of $391,000 in FY 2012-13 and $784,000 in FY 2013-14 and ongoing. • Create a Fair Employment and Housing Council within and staffed by the DFEH to promulgate regulations. Council to include 7 members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, along with the DFEH Director as non-voting ex officio member. • Authorize the DFEH to prosecute cases directly in court and to collect attorney’s fees and costs. Every case targeted for prosecution by the DFEH must undergo free mandatory dispute resolution in the Department’s Dispute Resolution Division. The DFEH would receive 1.5 staff counsel positions for dispute resolution work.
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