In Gov. Code 12965(d)(1), the Legislature codified Downs v. Department of Water & Power (1997) 58 Cal.App.4th 1093, tolling the FEHA’s one-year limitations period if (a) concurrent discrimination charges are filed with the EEOC and DEFH, (2) DEFH defers to the EEOC’s investigation, and (3) DEFH issues a right to sue letter when it defers to the EEOC.  In that event, under (d)(2), the statute of limitations expires upon the earlier of one year from the DFEH’s right to sue letter or expiration of the federal limitations period following the EEOC investigation.  Here, plaintiff met the conditions for tolling under (d)(1), but did not file suit within either the federal limitations period or one year after the DFEH right to sue letter.  Nevertheless, this decision holds that the limitations period was equitably tolled for a year beyond issuance of the federal right to sue letter because plaintiff reasonably relied on DFEH’s right to sue letter which incorrectly stated that pursuant to Gov. Code 12965(d)(1), the one-year period in which to sue will be tolled during the pendency of the EEOC’s investigation of your complaint. And plaintiff reasonably relied on that advice in delaying suit.

California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division 4 (Epstein, P.J.); July 27, 2016; 2016 WL 4013645