Interplay of FEHA and Tort Claims Act in California

It is common for an employee who charges the public employer (government office) with discrimination and harassment claims to receive a response from the government attorney, claiming that the employee’s claims are rejected for non compliance with the Tort Claims Act. This legal argument, however, has no merit, when it comes to claims made under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). It is well established that actions seeking redress for employment discrimination and harassment pursuant to the FEHA are not subject to the claim presentation requirements of the Tort Claims Act. Snipes v. City of Bakersfield 145 Cal.App.3d 861 (1983). A local government entity may not impose a claims requirement where, because of special procedural provisions of the FEHA, the California Tort Claims Act provisions do not apply. Pasadena Hotel Development Venture v. City of Pasadena 119 Cal.App.3d 412, 414-415 (1981). Thus, the compliance with the Tort Claims Act is not necessary in order to purse legal action under FEHA.