McDonald v. Antelope Valley Community College District


Plaintiff complained of discrimination in a letter to the Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, followed by a formal administrative complaint with the Chancellor’s Office in November of 2001. The Chancellor’s Office informed Plaintiff that she could also file a FEHA complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing at any time. Plaintiff filed a DFEH complaint on October 11, 2002 and filed suit in the Superior Court on October 24, 2003. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Plaintiff’s complaint was untimely because equitable tolling did not apply to Plaintiff’s voluntary pursuit of her complaint with the Chancellor’s Office prior to filing her complaint with the DFEH. The superior court granted the motion, and the Court of Appeal reversed.


Affirmed. The FEHA does not preclude equitable tolling during the voluntary pursuit of internal administrative remedies. The Legislature has demonstrated the intent to increase the common law remedies available to employees for employment discrimination. Where the purpose of equitable tolling is met, the promotion of resolution of employee grievances through internal administrative procedures, equitable tolling should be applied.