Title: Department of Fair Employment and Housing and Fair Employment and Housing Commission Records
Department of Fair Employment and Housing and Fair Employment and Housing Commission
California State Archives
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[Identification of item], Department of Fair Employment and Housing and Fair Employment and Housing Commission Records, F3929,
California State Archives.
In 1959 the California Fair Employment Practice Act created the five member Fair Employment Practice Commission (Stats. 1959,
ch. 2). Within the Department of Industrial Relations the Division of Fair Employment Practices was created to provide staff
support to the Commission. In 1978 the Commission and the Division defined a separation of functions. The Commission was given
responsibility for policy development and adjudicating complaints, and the Division received responsibility for processing
complaints and suits. In 1980 the Division achieved departmental status within the State and Consumer Services Agency with
the new name of Department of Fair Employment and Housing (Stats. 1980, ch. 992). The 1980 reorganization renamed the Commission
the Fair Employment and Housing Commission.
The Fair Employment Practice Act prohibited workplace discrimination based on race, religious creed, color, national origin
or ancestry. The Commission's objective is to promote fair employment practices in public and private employment. This is
accomplished through programs of conciliation, education, and enforcement.
Over time the scope of the Commission's responsibilities has broadened. In 1963 the Fair Employment Practice Commission was
mandated to oversee the housing anti-discrimination provisions of the Rumford Fair Housing Law (Stats. 1963, ch. 1853) and
the Commission membership was increased to seven. Between 1968 and 1978 the Commission's jurisdiction expanded to include
additional workers and forms of discrimination. Agricultural workers were added in 1969 and a few years later, in 1973, coverage
was extended to domestic workers. In 1970 it became illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of sex. These provisions
were extended to include discrimination based on age (1973), physical handicap (1974), and marital status (1977).
A 1984 act extended protections to include harassment on the basis of any protected classification: race, religious creed,
color, national ancestry, physical handicap, medical condition, marital status, or sex. (Stats. 1984, 1754)