DFEH Creates Advisory Group to Study Local Enforcement of State Employment Anti-Discrimination Law

April 4, 2018

For Immediate Release

Group formed in response to Governor’s veto message of SB 491

Sacramento – The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) announced today the formation of an advisory group to study the feasibility of local government enforcement of the employment provisions of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). In California, employment anti-discrimination law is enforced by private lawsuits or by lawsuits brought by DFEH or the Attorney General’s office. FEHA preempts local governments from enforcing its protections.

The advisory group is being convened in response to Governor Brown’s October 14, 2017 veto message of Senate Bill 491. The group will study whether the law should allow local authorities to enforce FEHA and provide a report with findings and recommendations to the Governor and Legislature by December 31, 2018.

In addition to DFEH representatives, the members of the advisory group are:

  • Lola Smallwood-Cuevas and Lilia Garcia, Los Angeles Black Worker Center
  • Jennifer Barrera, California Chamber of Commerce
  • Noah Zatz, UCLA School of Law
  • John Reamer, City of Los Angeles
  • Jane Martin and Jannah Manansala, Service Employees International Union

“We continue to see thousands of complaints of workplace harassment and discrimination filed every year in California,” said DFEH Director Kevin Kish, who convened the advisory group. “As we study the feasibility of local enforcement of the FEHA, we encourage local governments to do everything in their power to inform workers and employers in their jurisdictions of anti-discrimination rights and responsibilities.”


The California Civil Rights Department (CRD) is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. CRD’s mission is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state-funded programs and activities, and from hate violence and human trafficking. For more information, visit calcivilrights.ca.gov.

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