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Term Definition

A written statement that begins a civil lawsuit, in which the plaintiff details the claims against the defendant.

Constructive Termination

Forcing an employee to resign due to intolerable working conditions, including being asked to break the law or refrain from reporting a violation of the law.

Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles

The Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), previously the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Association (LATLA), is one of the largest associations of plaintiffs lawyers in the United States. CAALA has been influential in promoting legislation to protect consumer rights.


An agreement between two or more people that creates an obligation to do or not to do a particular thing.


Government entity authorized to resolve legal disputes.


Money that a defendant pays a plaintiff in a civil case if the plaintiff has won. Damages may be compensatory (for loss or injury) or punitive (to punish and deter future misconduct).

Default judgment

A judgment awarding a plaintiff the relief sought in the complaint because the defendant has failed to appear in court or otherwise respond to the complaint.


An individual (or business) against whom a lawsuit is filed.


Reduction in employment rank, position, title, pay, or benefits.

Department of Fair Employment and Housing

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is the state agency charged with the protection of residents from employment, housing and public accommodation discrimination, and hate violence. It is the largest civil rights agency in the United States. It also provides representation to the victims of hate crimes. Originally a division within the Department of Industrial Relations, DFEH became a separate department in 1980. DFEH has a director who is appointed by the governor of California and maintains a total of fifteen offices throughout the state. Today, it is considered part of the California State and Consumer Services Agency.

Department of Industrial Relations

The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) is a department of the State of California which administers and enforces laws governing wages, hours and breaks, overtime, retaliation, workplace safety and health, apprenticeship training programs, and medical care and other benefits for injured workers.


An oral statement made before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths. Such statements are often taken to examine potential witnesses, to obtain discovery, or to be used later in trial.

Disability Discrimination

Disability discrimination occurs when an employer treats a qualified individual with a disability who is an employee or applicant unfavorably because of their disability.


To be considered disabled an employee must (a) have a physical or mental impairment that limits a major life activity, (b) have a record of such an impairment, or (c) be regarded as having such an impairment.


Procedures used to obtain disclosure of evidence before trial.