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Employment Law

San Diego Labor & Employment Law Attorney

California has one of the most complicated labor codes in the entire United States. While this can be hard for someone to navigate, the great news is that our labor code is one of the strongest for employees and provides many protections that are not available in other states. The San Diego Labor and Employment Law Attorneys at Rist Law Office help employees with a number of different types of cases. We know that employment questions are some of the most difficult problems that a person can deal with.

Facing a possible termination or dealing with an employer that is not paying a fair wage can cause an immense amount of stress. The livelihood of a person can be at stake in an employment case. That is why our office provides free consultations where we will talk through everything happening and provide the best advice to go forward with an employment case. It is also important to know that our free consultations are completely confidential – meaning that no one will ever know you discussed your case with a lawyer. We know that sometimes speaking to a lawyer who is compassionate and understanding can provide peace of mind when someone is in a tumultuous situation with their employer.

Getting Results in San Diego Employment Cases

There are a number of different practice areas where we help employees with violations of California Labor Law. The following are some highlights of the types of employment cases that we handle.

Wage Theft

Wage theft can refer to a number of different types of employment cases, including:

California wage and hour law protects workers who are not being paid correctly or not being paid at all. In many of these cases employees can recover unpaid wages, penalties, and even attorneys’ fees and costs for pursuing a case.

Failure to Pay Minimum Wages

Employers in California are required to pay workers a minimum wage pursuant to CA Labor Code 1197. The failure to do this is illegal and can result in significant verdicts for employees. It is important to remember that certain cities, such as San Diego and Los Angeles, have even higher minimum wages.

Failure to Pay Overtime

Employers have to non-exempt pay employees overtime when they work more than eight (8) hours in a day or forty (40) hours in a week. There are some exceptions to this rule for certain workers. It is always best to talk to a San Diego Labor and Employment Law Attorney to find out if you are subject to any exceptions to this rule.

Failure to Provide Meal or Rest Breaks

Employers are required to provide non-exempt employees thirty (30) minute lunch or meal breaks if an employee works more than five (5) hours in a day. Employees who work more than ten (10) hours are entitled to another thirty-minute meal break.

California law also requires that ten (10) minute rest breaks to be provided every four hours that a non-exempt employee works during the day.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment remains a significant problem in many San Diego workplaces. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act is the primary law that deals with sexual harassment and protects workers in California. Our office handles sexual harassment and quid pro quo sexual harassment cases throughout California.

California Final Paycheck Law Violations

Subject to a few exceptions, employees must be paid all outstanding wages owed on the date they are terminated. This includes payment for all hours worked, overtime pay, and accrued vacation pay. If an employee quits without providing notice, they have to be paid within 72 hours of quitting. These types of cases can lead to serious penalties known as waiting time penalties as well as attorney’s fees and costs.

Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment can be created through sexual harassment, but can also include harassment or discrimination based on disability, race, sex (or gender), national origin, age, and sexual orientation.

Failure to Reimburse Business Expenses

The California Labor Code requires that an employer reimburse an employee for any expenses incurred by the employee as a condition of continued employment. These expenses can include cell phone bills, mileage, equipment costs (like computers and printers) and even internet for work from home employees.

Employment Discrimination

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act also protects workers from employment discrimination based on any of the following:

  • sex
  • age
  • national origin
  • disability
  • race
  • gender
  • sexual orientation
  • pregnancy
  • lactation accommodation
  • religion

Discrimination typically occurs through workplace conditions that show favoritism or even involve hiring and firing. Our office can assist workers who believe that they have been the victim of discrimination in evaluating and pursuing a case against their employer.

Retaliation and Whistleblower Cases

Employees are completely protected by California law for taking actions as a result of workplace discrimination or harassment. Likewise, employees are protected if they make a claim for workers’ compensation or report their employer to a safety agency. If an employee is fired, terminated, forced to resign, demoted, or otherwise is treated differently after taking actions or reporting an employer for illegal workplace activity, the employer can be held liable. This includes if the employee files suit against an employer and then is terminated or discriminated against in any manner.

Our office has helped numerous clients in California with retaliation and whistleblower cases and can work through the issues a potential client is facing.

Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors

When an employee is misclassified as an independent contractor, the employer can avoid complying with California Labor Law regarding minimum wage, overtime, and meal and rest breaks. An employer who misclassifies an employee as an independent contractor can be responsible for the unpaid wages as well as liquidated damages, penalties, interest and attorney’s fees.

Unequal Pay

The California Equal Pay Act requires all employers to pay an equal rate of pay for substantially similar work no matter the sex, race, or ethnicity of that person. What this means for employees is that a male and female counterpart who perform substantially similar work should be paid the same rate of pay. The Equal Pay Act also prohibits employers from prohibiting employees from disclosing their wages with others.

Wrongful Termination

Typically, employees in California are considered “at will” employees who can be terminated at any time for any reason as long as the termination is not discriminatory in nature. California law sets forth exceptions to this general rule and even provides protections for employees if they are terminated for any of the following reasons:

  • For filing a workers’ compensation claim
  • For seeking help from a superior for sexual harassment in the workplace
  • For reporting the employer for illegal activities in the workplace
  • Due to political speech activities outside of the workplace
  • For any sort of whistleblower complaints
  • For failing to provide a reasonable accommodation
  • For exercising their rights under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (including for

If an employee is terminated or forced to quit (known as a constructive discharge) for any of these reasons, they could have a case against the employer.

San Diego Labor & Employment Law Attorney

Our office handles labor and employment law cases in San Diego and throughout California. We have helped thousands of clients to recover millions in damages. We handle all employment cases on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no fee unless we win compensation for you. To set up a free, confidential consultation or to speak to a lawyer about your case today, call us at (619) 377-4660.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
“Tom Rist embodies all of the attributes a person would look for in an attorney. He is honest, trustworthy, competent, genuine, and personable. He is a natural at putting his clients at ease.” Google Review by a Client
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“I just wanted to say thank you for everything. I really appreciate all you did for my case. Awesome job.” Employment Case Client
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“Thank you so much for what you did in this case. My husband and I had nowhere to turn until we found you. Your work on this case made all of the difference for us and our family. We are so very grateful for your help and will send all of our family and friends to you if they need a lawyer for anything.” Fraud Litigation Client
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