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San Diego Employment Lawyer

San Diego Employment Attorney

Whether you love your job or simply tolerate it, it is important that you feel safe and respected at work. In fact, this is your legal right, according to California and federal labor laws. Unfortunately, many workers in San Diego, CA do not understand the rights that they have, which allows employers to continue to exploit their employees without consequences.

Employment law allows employees to take action if they believe that their employer is treating them unfairly or illegally. With the help of a qualified employment lawyer, you can protect your family and advocate for your rights and the rights of your coworkers. Our team at Diefer Law Group has many years of experience in this area, and we are ready to help.

San Diego Employment Lawyer

Diefer Law Group: Your San Diego Employment Attorneys

For many years, the employment attorneys at Diefer Law Group have been advocating for workers in San Diego and the surrounding areas. We understand the unique challenges that employees in Southern California face, and we feel confident in our ability to represent you in any employment claim you may have.

We are ruthless in our pursuit of justice for California workers. We have a passion for employee rights and have no patience for employers who aim to take advantage of their workers. Our team can fight for you to earn the compensation you deserve.

Unlike many other law firms, our clients always work directly with our employment attorneys rather than a paralegal. When you work with us, you have access to our undivided attention and as much legal support as you need. We are here for you for the duration of your claim.

When you are searching for an employment lawyer in Southern California, look no further than Diefer Law Group.

What Is Employment Law?

Employment law is a series of state and local standards that protect employees from being exploited, abused, or hurt on the job. When an employer violates one of the laws set forth for them, the victim can hold them accountable through an employment law claim.

Employment law protects employees from a myriad of situations. It is important to understand them so that you can identify them if they happen to you.

Workplace Discrimination

The law forbids employers to treat employees and potential employees differently based on a protected trait. Protected traits include:

  • Disability status
  • Age
  • Race
  • Gender or gender expression
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • Nation of origin
  • Pregnancy

An employer may not use one of these traits as a factor in how they treat their employee. For example, an employer may not demote an employee because they are a member of the LGBTQ community.

Most employers understand disability law and therefore will refrain from using one of the above traits as their reason for treating someone poorly, even if it is the underlying cause. Instead, to protect themselves, employers will use different excuses to explain their behavior toward a certain employee. Because of this, timing is essential in discrimination claims.

There are many ways that discrimination can occur. Examples of discriminatory actions include:

  • Firing or demoting someone because of a protected trait (employment discrimination)
  • Making jokes, comments, or derogatory gestures about a protected trait
  • Leaving an employee out of essential meetings or information because of a protected trait
  • Denying an employee basic privileges or benefits because of a protected trait
  • This is not an exhaustive list of the ways that discrimination can occur. If you believe that you are being treated differently because of a protected quality, you may have a discrimination claim under California employment law.


Unfortunately, employers and coworkers can engage in violent, uncomfortable, or inappropriate behavior. If this behavior continues after a request to stop, it is considered harassment. Your employer has the obligation to protect you from harassment. Therefore, if you report harassment, and your employer does not take action, you may have a case under employment law.

Sexual harassment is a bit different. Although some actions may not be obvious harassment, most sexual actions in the workplace are very clear. Because of this, you may not need to report the behavior and have it continue before it is considered harassment.

Examples of harassment may include:

  • Inappropriate jokes, comments, or gestures
  • Requests for sexual favors
  • Unwelcome comments about a person’s body, interests, or lifestyle
  • Using racial slurs

This is not a finite list of harassment that may occur. If you are unsure of whether you are experiencing workplace harassment, consult your employee handbook or contact a qualified employment attorney from Diefer Law Group.

Family and Medical Leave Act

For the past 30 years, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has allowed workers to take up to 12 hours of leave from their job for certain medical and family-related situations. These include:
  • Caring for one’s biological child within a year of their birth
  • Caring for an adopted or foster child within a year of the child’s placement
  • Illness, either personal or in the immediate family
  • Military leave, either personal or in the immediate family
  • Up to 26 weeks of leave for the family of military service members to care for a family member that was injured in the line of duty
Under FMLA, your employer does not have to pay you during this leave, but they may not fire you for taking it. If your employer fires you, it is a form of wrongful termination, and you can take legal action through employment law.

Wage and Hour Violations

Even if you love your job, your purpose for being an employee is to collect a paycheck to support your family. Unfortunately, some employers commit wage or hour violations that take money from their employees. Examples of wage and hour violations include:

  • Failing to pay overtime
  • Paying less than the minimum wage
  • Misclassifying a worker to avoid payroll tax and other expenses
  • Stealing tips
  • Making unauthorized deductions from employee paychecks
  • Forcing or manipulating employees to work off the clock

These are not all the ways that an employer can commit wage and hour violations, but they are examples of the types of actions that make up this category of the employment law system.

These types of violations are a form of theft and need to be rectified as soon as possible. Employees deserve fair pay for their work.


As an employee, you have the right to take action if you feel unsafe in the workplace. If you have experienced sexual harassment, discrimination, or any other illegal employment law activity, you can report it to your employer or the proper authorities. In return, your employer may not punish you for advocating for your rights. If your employer does take action against you after you report something, it is considered retaliation and subject to further legal action.

Retaliation is commonly associated with whistleblowing. Whistleblowing occurs when an individual, usually an employee, reports suspected illegal activity within their company to the authorities. This kind of action puts the employee in a difficult position and creates ample opportunity for an angry boss to punish the employee for reporting unlawful behavior.

Remember that retaliation is illegal, even in whistleblowing scenarios. You cannot be punished for reporting something that is genuinely concerning to you. If the report is made in good faith, meaning that it was not made out of spite or with the aim of defaming the company or boss, you cannot be punished. This is the case even if the activity turns out to be legal.

Whistleblowing often puts employees in a difficult position, but it is crucial to identifying and stopping illegal activity. Many white-collar crimes get prosecuted because brave employees step forward to report the actions that they see. If you need to report illegal activity in your workplace, find an attorney who can help you with the process and protect your rights.

Wrongful Termination

Employers in California are permitted to fire employees without cause. However, they may not fire them for certain reasons. This can be difficult to understand, but it is a central part of wrongful termination claims.

An employer cannot fire an employee as an act of discrimination, retaliation, or breach of contract. If they do, they may be charged with wrongful termination. For example, an employer may not pass over an employee for a promotion that they deserve simply because the employee is Asian. This would be racial discrimination, and it is against the law.

Many wrongful termination claims rely on timing as a major indicator of the offense, as most offenders do not admit that they have committed wrongful termination. Be aware of the information that you give to your co-workers and employer. If you reveal personal information about yourself, such as your sexual orientation or religion, and are fired soon after without apparent cause, you may have a wrongful termination claim.

Workers’ Compensation

Although workers’ compensation is its own category of the legal system, it is important to understand the unique laws that accompany these claims.

The vast majority of employers in California are required to have workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. If your employer does have workers’ compensation insurance, you cannot press charges against them for an injury that happened at work.

Despite this, it is beneficial to hire an attorney for your workers’ compensation claim. Insurance companies frequently take advantage of workers making claims, and they may even attempt to avoid paying for these expenses. It is important to have legal representation to protect you from such predatory tactics.

Workers’ compensation claims are often complicated. Our team at Diefer Law Group can help you navigate yours.


Q: Can I Sue My Employer for Emotional Distress in California?

A: Under certain circumstances, you can sue your employer for emotional distress. To properly win your claim, you must prove that your employer has treated you differently or singled you out for a protected classification. Protected traits include:
  • Race
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender
  • Gender expression
  • Religion
  • Country of origin
  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Pregnancy
  • Disability status
Mistreatment based on one of these qualities can be extremely emotionally distressing and may even fall under the category of hate crimes.

Q: What Is Unfair Treatment at Work?

A: Unfair treatment is any activity in which someone at work treats you negatively solely because of a protected trait. This can be difficult to identify, as it is natural to get along with some coworkers better than others. Unfair treatment may be suffering an undeserved demotion, being left out of important information, or facing the silent treatment. Any undeserved, unprofessional treatment may be considered unfair. Consult an attorney if you are unsure whether you have an employment law claim.

Q: What Can HR Legally Say About You in California?

A: If someone calls HR for a reference, the HR department can make statements about your job performance and workplace qualifications. They may not say anything about you that is not supported by evidence and the truth. If the HR department lies about you, or makes a statement with malice that does not reflect reality, you have the right to press charges against them for defamation. Always talk to your boss or HR department before giving out their contact information.

Q: Can You Sue an Employer for Stress in California?

A: In extreme cases, you can sue your employer for stress. In these situations, the workplace must be unsafe or extremely toxic. Harassment, overbearing management, and significant overtime can all be signs of an overly stressful work environment. In these cases, it helps if your coworkers have testimonials of their own workplace stress, as it shows a pattern rather than an individual or personal problem. An employment lawyer can help you determine whether a claim may be appropriate in your situation.

Contact Diefer Law Group

Here at Diefer Law Group, we passionately represent workers who have been mistreated or abused in the workplace. Although your situation may feel difficult, or even hopeless, we are confident that we can help you earn the compensation and justice that you deserve from your employer.

To begin the process, or ask any further questions, please contact Diefer Law Group.

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Diefer Law Group, P.C.


2030 Main Street
Suite 1356
Irvine, CA 92614

(949) 799-1860

San Diego

12636 High Bluff Drive
Suite 400
San Diego, CA 92130

(619) 728-3990

Los Angeles

355 South Grand Avenue
Suite 2450
Los Angeles, CA 90071

(213) 973-6142


6670 Alessandro Blvd
Suite H,
Riverside CA, 92506

(951) 470-1862

Dana Point

34204 Pacific Coast
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 799-1534

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By contacting Diefer Law Group, you agree to receive emails, text messages, and phone calls regarding your legal inquiry, which may be considered advertising material. Emails, text messages, and phone calls may be automatically generated using the information from this contact form to better coordinate communication. You understand that your consent to this is not necessary to obtain legal services from Diefer Law Group. Messaging and data rates may apply.