How to file a retaliation/discrimination complaint

Employees, former employees, or job applicants who have suffered retaliation or discrimination may file a retaliation complaint. The Labor Commissioner’s Office maintains a listing of California laws that specifically prohibits retaliation, discrimination, and pay inequity.

Workplace discrimination complaints based on race, color, ancestry, religion, age (40 and over), disability, medical condition, genetic information, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, marital status, military and veteran status, or national origin (including language restrictions), should be filed with the California Civil Rights Department.

File a Retaliation and/or Equal Pay Act Claim

If you have been retaliated against because of a workplace health or safety complaint, you have additional ways to file you your complaint.

Who can file a complaint

You have the right to speak to representatives of the California Labor Commissioner’s Office or any other government or law enforcement agency about any issues affecting your working conditions in California.

Make sure you file timely

Important: Effective September 30, 2021, Executive Order N-08-21, Section 24(f) ends the temporary suspension of deadlines to file complaints with the Labor Commissioner due to the COVID-19 pandemic and such deadlines will once again be in effect in their entirety.

Complaints must be filed within one year of the retaliatory act, except for the following instances:

  • Whistleblowers retaliated against for raising child day care licensing violation complaints – 90 days
  • Equal Pay Act violations – within two years (three years if willful) of the violation

You may be able to file a private lawsuit instead of filing a complaint if the deadline is missed. You should consult with an attorney.

In California, all workers are protected by labor laws. The Labor Commissioner's Office will not question employees’ immigration status nor report it to other government agencies. There is no need for a Social Security number or photo identification to file a complaint of retaliation, discrimination, or Equal Pay Act violation.

Other Resources

June 2024