New Legislation Makes Procedural Changes To DFEH Enforcement And Expands Employer Record Retention Requirements

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On  September 23, 2021, California’s Governor signed Senate Bill 807 (SB 807), which makes procedural modifications to how the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) enforces California’s civil rights laws. The changes include modifying when and how the DFEH can appeal adverse superior court decisions regarding the scope of the DFEH’s power to compel cooperation in investigations and tolling the time the DFEH has to file a civil action while dispute resolution is pending.

Of note to California employers, SB 807 also expands current record retention requirements.  Effective January 1, 2022, employers must now retain personnel records for applicants and employees under Government Code section 12946 for four years from the date the records were created, or the date the employment action was taken.  Additional retention requirements apply once a complaint has been filed.

In addition, SB 807 extends the period in which an individual can file a civil action for violations of certain statutes, by tolling that period while the DFEH investigates and/or takes action on a complaint.

SB 807 also extends to two years the period of time that the DFEH has to complete its investigation and issue a right-to-sue notice for employment discrimination complaints treated by the DFEH as a class or group complaint.

Jackson Lewis will continue tracking state legislation that is relevant to employers.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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