Thursday, September 29, 2011

DFEH Launches Clinic To Train Students To Become DFEH Investigators

As we previously reported here, in May, it was announced that the Department of Fair Employment and Housing ("DFEH") would begin a new collaborative effort with the University of California at Irvine School of  Law to combat allegations of systemic discrimination.  The DFEH and UC Irvine established a clinic in which law students will assist DFEH agents on tasks which include evaluation, investigation, and prosecution of discrimination claims.  
On September 27, 2011, the DFEH announced a similar partnership with the California State University Bakersfield School of Business and Public Administration to establish a similar clinic for graduate students.  The DFEH press release, available here, states "[t]he partnership's goals are closely aligned with the department's mission to train future professionals to investigate and resolve employment discrimination complaints and to develop a pipeline for students interested in serving the state with the DFEH and other related state agencies."   The press release goes on to state: "In the DFEH-CSUB clinic, Master of Public Administration students will study legal theory and investigative techniques, and apply that knowledge to investigating individual employment discrimination complaints."
Employers facing DFEH or other administrative claims arising in the workplace may well see heightened activity on their cases through these partnerships with law schools and universities, which the DFEH describes as a means to develop the "civil rights leaders of the future."