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San Diego Employment Lawyer

California employment labor laws exist to ensure fair treatment of workers and provide protections in the workplace. However, violations still frequently occur, leaving employees vulnerable. This guide will help you understand your employee rights in San Diego and determine if you need an employment lawyer.

For legal advice specific to your situation, don’t hesitate to talk to us at Hamparyan Law Firm. We have been assisting Californians over the last two decades, helping them obtain legal remedies for unjust experiences. Your consultation with us is free. Call (619)550-1355 today.

Overview of Key Employment Laws in California

Employment laws at both the federal and state level aim to prevent discrimination and harassment, ensure fair pay and safe working conditions, protect family and medical leave rights, regulate hiring and firing protocols, and more. Some key laws include:

  • Title VII of Civil Rights Act
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Fair Labor Standards Act.

If an employer violates provisions of these laws, affected employees may have the right to take legal action.

Contact the Hamparyan Law Firm at (619) 550-1355 for a free case review. We’re ready to assist if you are facing issues like discrimination, unpaid wages, wrongful termination, or harassment at work. Our employment lawyers can analyze your situation and help protect your rights.

Protections Under Discrimination Laws

Federal and California labor laws protect employees from illegal employment discrimination based on:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender and sex
  • Pregnancy
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation.

It is illegal for employers to make decisions based on these protected traits when it comes to hiring, firing, promotions, training, wages, job assignments. and other terms of employment.

Types of Employment Law Violations: Signs You May Need a San Diego Employment Lawyer

Employment disputes can happen in any industry and workplace size. Look out for unfair employment practices or violations of employment rights by your employer, supervisor, or manager. These are signs you may need legal assistance:

Unlawful Discrimination

  • Being passed over for promotion due to race, gender, age (over 40), or other protected characteristics
  • Harassment or unfair treatment based on a protected characteristic
  • Hostile work conditions that target protected groups

Workplace Retaliation

  • Demotion, pay cut, or firing after complaining of discrimination or harassment
  • Intimidation tactics used to dissuade reporting unlawful practices

Wrongful Termination

  • Firing without appropriate cause or proper protocols
  • Breach of employment contract provisions
  • Violating public policy or retaliation laws

Wage & Hour Violations

  • Not paying minimum wage or overtime rates
  • Forcing employees to work off-the-clock
  • Denying meal and rest breaks
  • Improperly classifying workers as contractors.

If any of these situations apply, our employment lawyer in San Diego can help explain your rights and legal options.

Evidence of Discrimination

Since direct evidence is often lacking, victims must show a pattern of unfair differential treatment compared to those outside their protected class. This can include:

  • Application of policies in an unequal manner
  • Difference in qualifications of selected applicant
  • Deviation from standard procedures
  • Proof of discriminatory remarks or actions
  • Statistical analysis showing disparate impact.

Documenting all instances of potentially discriminatory conduct is critical when building a case.

Harassment in the Workplace

Harassment involves unwelcome conduct that creates an intimidating or hostile work environment. Under the law, it can take many forms:

  • Sexual harassment – unwelcome sexual advances, requests for favors, inappropriate verbal or physical conduct
  • Bullying – persistent criticism, personal insults, gossip or rumors
  • Physical harassment – violence, unwanted touching
  • Verbal abuse – profanity, angry outbursts, threats.

Harassers can be supervisors, coworkers, or even non-employees like clients or customers. Speak to our experienced employment attorney to see if you have a case.

Steps to Take Against Workplace Harassment

If you experience harassment at work, take these key steps:

  • Report issues in writing to HR and management.
  • Record details of incidents including dates, times, and potential witnesses.
  • Request a harassment investigation.
  • If harassment is unresolved, consult a lawyer and file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

California law requires employers to take reasonable steps to prevent harassment. If they fail to do so, their inaction facilitates a hostile environment, making them liable.

Wrongful Termination or Retaliation

Wrongful termination refers to firing an employee illegally, violating their legal rights. Common grounds for a claim include:

  • Discrimination
  • Retaliation for harassment complaints
  • Whistleblower retaliation
  • Breach of employment contract.

Exceptions exist if an employee is covered by a union agreement or works in an “at-will” state like California. However, at-will workers can still sue if termination violates public policy or a state or federal law.

Meanwhile, it is illegal to punish employees for exercising protected rights, like filing a complaint. Employer actions that could constitute retaliation include:

  • Demotion, pay cuts, or hour cuts
  • Poor performance reviews
  • Assignment of undesirable tasks
  • Sudden discipline or probation
  • Termination.

It’s crucial to document the retaliation and show clear correlation between it and your original complaint. Get the help of an employment attorney in building a strong case.

Wage & Hour Law Violations

Even if unlawful termination or discrimination is not at issue, our California employment lawyers can also handle cases involving:

  • Unpaid wages – failure to pay minimum, overtime, or promised wages
  • Meal/rest breaks – not providing mandated breaks or restricting use
  • Off-the-clock work – forcing employees to work without pay.

Violating California wage and hour laws can be grounds for employees to file civil lawsuits. State labor law imposes penalties on violating employers, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Using FMLA and CFRA Leave

For medical or family reasons, employees may qualify for 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA). These are the types of leave protected under these laws:

  • Pregnancy or childbirth
  • Adoption or foster placement
  • Serious personal illness
  • Caregiver leave for spouse, kids, or parents.

If you have been denied a protected leave or fired for taking leave, you can sue to recover back pay, reinstatement, and other damages.

What to Do If You Are Fired: Next Steps

If you have been wrongfully terminated, remember these key steps to help you build a case:

  • Apply for unemployment benefits.
  • Elect COBRA health insurance coverage.
  • Negotiate severance package.
  • Contact an employment lawyer.

While an employer does not have to provide a severance package, workers have leverage to negotiate additional pay or benefits, especially if they have a potential employment law claim.

If you’ve been fired or feel your rights were violated, call (619) 550-1355 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney from Hamparyan Law Firm. Our employment law attorneys can help you understand all available options.

Working With a San Diego Employment Attorney

To alleviate stress during an already difficult time, choose an attorney who can handle your case effectively. Look for these indications that a California employment lawyer is competent in this field:

Realistic Case Assessment

An experienced employment litigator can analyze the provable facts and provide expectations on potential case outcomes. If settlement appears the wisest route, they will advise accordingly.

No Upfront Costs

Our employment lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they’ll collect payment only when they’ve helped you recover money. This ensures legal help remains accessible.

Document-Gathering Assistance

Your lawyer can issue subpoenas or discovery requests to compel turnover of evidence like personnel files, financial records, internal communications and computer data.

Estimate on Timeline

Employment cases often settle before trial, but when they do go to litigation, they can take a year or longer. Understanding expected case length aids planning.

San Diego Employment Law Attorney FAQs

How do I prove wrongful termination?

To prove wrongful discharge, these are some examples of important evidence you may need:

  • Testimony on employer’s failure to follow policies
  • Proof of your satisfactory performance
  • Records of discipline or warnings showing unwarranted firing
  • Documentation that termination violated a public policy or law
  • Proof that the stated reason for firing is pretext.

Start collecting any evidence as soon as you can, and consult a wrongful termination lawyer to determine your best next steps.

What are common wage and hour violations in California?

Some frequent wage and hour violations in California include: not paying overtime rates, forcing employees to work off the clock, failing to provide meal and rest breaks, misclassifying employees as independent contractors, and illegally deducting pay or withholding wages.

Who enforces employment discrimination laws?

In California, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) investigates complaints and enforces laws prohibiting harassment and discrimination. Various federal agencies also oversee related statutes.

How much does an employment attorney cost?

Most labor law attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, charging around 30 to 40% of any settlement or award recovered. If they fail to establish liability or recover damages, no legal fees are owed. Initial consultations are usually free.

Can I sue for harassment in San Diego?

Yes, strong legal protections exist if you have suffered harassment at work in San Diego County. Both federal law under Title VII and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibit unlawful harassment and impose penalties.

What damages can I recover in an employment lawsuit?

Remedies available in employment lawsuits often include:

  • Lost wages
  • Front or back pay
  • Reduced hours
  • Emotional distress claims
  • Punitive damages (in extraordinary cases)
  • Job reinstatement
  • Legal fees
  • Interest
  • And more. 

How long do I have to file an employment claim?

Time limits to file employment-related legal claims depend on the law alleged to be violated but are generally quite short. In California, you have just two years to file for wrongful termination and three years for unpaid wage claims. Acting promptly is key.

What is retaliation under employment law?

Retaliation occurs when employers punish workers for exercising protected rights like filing a discrimination complaint or OSHA violation report. Illegal retaliation can also include adverse actions by the employer intended to deter complaints from employees.

How hard is it to win an employment case?

Employment cases tend to be challenging to prove, given the complex legal analysis of burdens and defenses. Some statistics estimate that workers prevail in about 51% of employment lawsuits that go to trial. In employment discrimination cases specifically, employees win about 64% of the time.

Note, however, that these numbers are not predictive of your particular case outcome. Each case is unique. Much of it depends on the evidence you present and how effectively you – or your attorney – can assert your claim. An experienced lawyer improves the odds.

What employment laws apply in California?

Key California employment laws include the Title VII of Civil Rights Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Together with federal laws, they cover: minimum wage, overtime pay, meal and rest breaks, discrimination, harassment, family leave, workplace safety, wage statements, workplace violence, whistleblower protection, personnel file access, drug testing, severance pay, and worker classification.

Need an Employment Lawyer? Contact Hamparyan.

Employment law issues can be difficult, especially when your employer has the resources to protect their own interests. A good employment attorney can level the playing field when it comes to San Diego labor and employment law cases. That’s what we do at the Hamparyan Law Firm.

We offer practical advice, compassionate support, and aggressive representation to employees statewide. Contact our employment law firm at (619) 550-1355 for a free case review. Our labor attorney team can help maximize your recovery while minimizing your stress.


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