California Employment Lawyer

The Worker’s Law Firm.

California Employment Lawyer

We have the breadth of experience needed to handle the most important employment law case — yours.

Our employment lawyers in California at Mara Law Firm have been representing workers for well over a decade. We specialize in representing two, general categories of workers: California workers suffering from wage theft or other abuses of California’s labor laws, and civilian workers who worked overseas under a U.S. Defense Contract and suffered an injury. Both areas flow from intricate and complex bodies of laws that demand specialized expertise from the lawyer you choose to represent you. Our Defense Base Act and employment law attorneys at Mara Law Firm have the expertise you need to win your case.

You are here for a reason. Either your rights to fair wages and working conditions have been violated or you have been injured overseas while working under a U.S. Defense Contract. You are here because you are losing money, whether that be from your employer’s unlawful practices or because of injury. You’re thinking about your rights and if you need to take legal action, or maybe you’ve already begun the process and are looking for the best lawyers to represent you.

You can be sure the lawyers on the other side representing your employer or the insurance company are going to have all the expertise to try and keep you from getting your just due. The laws impacting California workers and defense base contractors are just too complex to entrust your case with lawyers who do not specialize in them every day. The only way to win, the only way to beat back the aggressive lawyers on the other side, is to fight back with lawyers of your own who have the skill, experience, and tenacity to win your case.

Our California employment law attorneys at Mara Law Firm have decades of combined and, most importantly, focused experience needed to guide you and your case to victory. From the initial intake to the end of your case, you will have unparalleled access to your lawyers, who will prepare you every step of the way. You do not need a lawyer who takes any and every case that comes by, and you won’t have that at Mara Law Firm. We are very selective in the cases we decide to take on. We are this way to ensure every client receives the best, which is exactly what you are looking for and need.

You do not have to pay anything to retain our firm to represent you. Unlike the lawyers who represent employers and insurance companies, we are not paid by the hour. We only get paid if we obtain relief for you. Most firms will tell you to contact them for a “free consultation.” Our entire representation of you – including the initial consultation – is “free” until and unless we obtain relief for you. There is no reason to linger in doubt about your rights and future. Contact our firm and begin the fight for your wages, health, and welfare the right way.


Need Help? Let Us Fight For You


619-784-8775 / 855-964-1023

Confidential & Free Consultation

California Employment Lawyers Testimonials

What People Are Saying About Us

  • I remember screaming at a dear friend of mine saying, “WHY WON’T THE INSURANCE COVER MY TREATMENT!” He said, “…because they know if they do it will increase your settlement.” I said, “WHAT SETTLEMENT! I JUST WANT TO GET TREATMENT! I DIDN’T ASK FOR A SETTLEMENT!” Somewhere I f...

    Mara Law Firm ClientSan Francisco

  • He represented me and many old CO-workers. They were very professional & I’d recommend them to anyone. Great Lawyers for the forgotten working man.

    ScottSan Francisco

  • I would definitely recommend David and really appreciated all the hard work he contributed. David really went the extra mile to help his customers. We were very happy and satisfied with his services. Thank you David!

    Mara Law Firm ClientSan Francisco

  • Mr. Mara was a pleasure to work with. He kept me in the loop. Can’t say enough how good it feels to have someone fighting for you, giving you a voice.

    AlbertSan Francisco

  • I was blown away by the results my case got. It far exceeded my expectations. Not only do you get someone who is a great professional; but he will fight for what you deserve. I was uncertain in the beginning; now I’m a believer. Mr. Mara is also personable. Lisa his paralegal was tremendous throughout the whole process. Sh...

    Jerome HarrisSan Francisco

  • Mr. Mara and his firm helped me file a claim for death benefits on behalf of my late husband. I was very pleased with his knowledge, research, and representation regarding my DBA claim for death benefits. I would absolutely recommend him and his associates to my friends, family, and others needing an attorney who specializes in ...

    Sally A ChandSan Francisco

  • Dave Mara did an outstanding job on my DBA case. Dave, I personally want to thank you for guiding me in the right direction and having a successful case outcome. God bless you for all the effort you put into my DBA case. Words can’t describe how thankful I am. Thank you for helping injured overseas contractors.

    Jim Joned San Francisco

  • Mr. Mara and his staff were very professional and I would highly recommend Mr. Mara. Mr. Mara had my best interests in settling my case and I am very appreciative of all he and his staff did for me. If I ever needed help or had simple questions, Mr. Mara and his staff were always available to take my calls and help me. Highly re...

    DebSan Francisco

  • Dave Mara comes with a very high recommendation. He took a workmans compensation case for me and really handled it well. It was an unclear case and a new issue that the WC most likely had never seen. He kept me up to date with the long confusing process and was very understanding and sympathetic to my plight (I was the victim of...

    Linda DSan Francisco

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Featured Practice Areas

At Mara Law Firm we can help you through a variety of issues you may be struggling with at your workplace.

View All Practice Areas

What is Considered Wrongful Termination in California?

Another common employment law matter is a claim of wrongful termination. California is an at-will employment state, which means that employers can terminate the employment relationship for any lawful reason. However, they cannot fire an employee for a reason that violates the law or public policy.

Some unlawful reasons for termination include discrimination, emotional distress, retaliation for exercising a legal right, whistleblowing, or refusing to engage in illegal or unethical conduct. If you believe the reason for your termination violated your rights, speak with our lawyers immediately.

Have Your Employment Rights Been Violated in California?

Employment law refers to the law that is for the protection of workers. It includes their right to work in an environment that is free from harassment and discrimination. Employment law also sets forth minimum standards for wages, hours, and working conditions employers cannot violate. We have the most complex and protective employment laws in California applicable to workers. More than any other state, California protects your rights to minimum wage, overtime wages, meal breaks, rest breaks, timely paychecks, and vacation pay, to name a few. This state has strong laws for the protection of workers because it’s all too often the standard procedure for companies to ignore the wage and working condition rights of employees in pursuit of maximizing their profits.

This complex, protective web of California worker rights laws does you no good, though, if you do not have a lawyer or law firm with an intense dedication to representing Californian workers for wage and hour violations. The law is just too complex for the casual lawyer who occasionally represents Californian workers. Ant employment lawyer from Mara Law Firm has the unmatched dedication, passion, and talent to win your wage loss case. Contact our office immediately and start the journey to restoring what your employer took from you.

How Much Does a California Employment Attorney Cost?

Many employees hesitate to hire an attorney because they are concerned about the cost. However, the good news is that employment lawyers mostly work on a contingency fee basis. This means that:

  • They should provide a free consultation and case evaluation
  • You should pay nothing to hire an attorney
  • You should pay no fees during your case
  • You only pay fees if you receive compensation
  • The fees come directly from your settlement and never from your own pocket

With a contingency fee, anyone can afford to hire an employment lawyer to protect their rights.

Recovering Damages in an Employment Lawsuit in California

Other than the emotional pain and suffering that you went through both before and after your employment, there are other damages you may be able to collect. These would fall mainly under the categories of compensatory damages and punitive damages.

These two types of damages could be awarded to an employee if their employer has purposely discriminated against them based on race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), religion, disability, or genetic information.

Especially malicious acts towards an employee could get them awarded punitive damages. Some examples of this would be if they majorly humiliated the worker, caused him or her supreme emotional/mental stress, purposefully didn’t try to stop other employees from harassing the worker, or if the employer intentionally and continuously performed discriminatory acts against the worker, knowing that it was against the law.

Compensatory damages are what would be awarded for other things that resulted from the incident, such as the employee’s medical bills, pain, suffering, and/or emotional trauma.

When You Should Contact an Employment Attorney Near You?

Our California Employment Attorney specializes in representing workers in class actions or other representative actions in California. A class action is a powerful tool that allows the wage and hour rights of masses of employees to be fought for in a single lawsuit. If your employer is violating your legal rights, such as not paying you for all your work time, not providing you meal and rest breaks, or even refusing family leave, you are probably not alone. They are likely violating your co-workers in the same way. California class actions and representative actions allow all these claims to be brought in a single lawsuit against the employer.

We have loaded our website with content to help inform you at this early stage of fighting for what you’ve lost at the hands of your employer. Please take advantage of all this information through the following links, and contact our office near your area to speak to one of our dedicated San Diego employment lawyers.

The Right Way to Choose The Best Employment Attorney For You

Other than simply having all the right resources to take on your employer with fierce litigation, your attorney should have extensive experience handling employment law cases. Specifically, in California, an attorney should have handled cases involving the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Labor Code.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing points out that this Act applies to (1) employment agencies, (2) various labor organizations, and (3) both public and private employers across The Golden State. This is the agency that is charged with enforcing FEHA, and the Act itself is basically the law that says that employees are protected from harassment and discrimination from their employer.

If your employer has wronged you, it will always be in your best interest to choose legal representation that is experienced in specifically what you are going through. Our dedicated employment attorney in California makes employment law our main priority and has seen countless cases just like yours that are directly related to FEHA and state labor laws.

Need Help? Let Us Fight For You


619-784-8775 / 855-964-1023

Confidential & Free Consultation

Filing an Employment Claim After Quitting Your Job in California

This is one of the most popular questions (if not the most popular question) that our clients ask us. Many of them think that since they ended up quitting their job instead of getting fired this will negatively affect their attempt to claim against their employer. But this is not true, even though your employer may try to make you think it is.

The important thing to remember is that, whether you voluntarily walked off the job or were terminated, you are still well within your rights to make a claim if you feel that your employer has wronged you. For example, a California employment lawyer regularly helps clients such as yourself with filing claims for everything from unpaid wages to overtime pay to many other kinds of unreimbursed expenses. We also handle discrimination and harassment claims after employees quit their jobs.

You should also know that there are situations where an employee has no choice but to quit, such as if working conditions are too unbearable for them to stay on the clock. This is what is defined as a constructive discharge, where the environment in the person’s workplace is so unbearable that any reasonable person would quit.

We’ll use our experience as your California employment lawyer to discover the details of your case and get you the compensation you deserve if you had no other choice but to leave.

Attaining Your Social Security Benefits

Many times, an employee’s worker’s compensation may run out, and they may need more benefits to get them by. This is where they would apply for their Social Security Disability benefits, and our experienced California employment lawyers have the job of seeing that you get them if you need them.

Should You Settle Your Case Before Trial?

Well, ultimately, that’s up to you! We’ve had clients who decide to take their case to trial, and we’ve had folks who were happy with accepting a settlement from their employer. Sometimes, the employer is just as happy settling out of court, being that in many cases, they may be the ones who are responsible for paying the legal fees of the victim employee.

The State of California’s Department of Industrial Relations points out how employees are well within their rights to file a claim for wages when their employer doesn’t pay them what they are owed.

The longer you are out of work, the more wages your employer will likely have to pay you. This is one reason why so many of them opt to simply pay their employee an agreed-upon settlement, but it takes the help of a seasoned California employment attorney to see if they are paying you what you deserve and are not trying to short-change you with a seemingly attractive lump sum.

How Long Do You Have to File Your Employment Claim in California?

The statute of limitations on filing your employment claim in California depends on the kind of claim it is. Depending on the way your employer had previously wronged you, the time that you have to file a claim against them will be shorter or longer.

For example, let’s say your employer spreads lies about you all around the workplace, ruining your reputation and causing you extreme stress along the way. If you were to file a defamation of character suit against them, California law says that you have one year to take legal action. If the employer were to wrongfully terminate you in this state, you have two years to file a claim against them.

One of the most frequent types of cases we see involves an employer who didn’t pay the wages they owed to a worker, as well as cases where there were issues with things such as meal breaks and/or unpaid overtime. With these, an employee would have up to three years to start litigation.

Contact us today at Mara Law Firm, and we’ll take you step-by-step through the entire litigation process and give you the peace of mind you need and deserve.

What are the Reasons I can Sue my Employer in California?

There are many ways that employers can violate the rights of employees that leads to legal claims. Some of the common types of cases against employers in California are as follows:

Unpaid wages

Unpaid wages can result from many situations, including a failure to pay minimum wage or overtime pay. These claims can also result from improper deductions from a paycheck or failing to reimburse an employee for expenses or vacation time as required by law. If your employer owes you money for any reason, you might have an unpaid wage claim. Our legal team can evaluate your situation and determine whether you have this type of case.

Minimum wage

California law sets the minimum wage for workers across the state, and the minimum wage has changed each year for several years. Further, the minimum wage is different for smaller and larger employers, and some municipalities set their own higher minimum wages. Always know how much you should be receiving per hour, and if you believe your pay falls short, seek legal help. Any employer that does not meet minimum wage requirements should be liable for back wages to affected employees.

Overtime pay

The law requires employers to provide 1.5 times the usual hourly rate when an employee works more than 40 hours in a week or eight hours in a day. Employers fail to pay proper overtime in California for many reasons, including misclassifying workers or miscalculating hours. If you did not receive overtime pay for all applicable overtime hours worked, you might have a lawsuit against your employer.

Meal and rest breaks

California law is clear regarding meal and rest break requirements for non-exempt employees. If you are entitled to breaks, and your employer fails to provide them, you can seek compensation. This includes when your employer requires you to work through a meal break or remain “on call” during rest breaks.

Unreimbursed expenses

When you need to cover reasonable business expenses to perform your job, your employer must provide prompt reimbursement. This can include expenses from travel, remote work, or other necessities of your job.

Unpaid vacation

Sometimes, employees accrue vacation time that they never use. This time is viewed as earned income under California law, and employers must pay individuals for unused vacation when the employment relationship ends. If they do not, they can face a wage claim for unpaid vacation.

At Mara Law Firm, we handle all types of unpaid wage claims for employees throughout California. Never delay in seeking a case evaluation if you believe you have unpaid wages of any sort.

Why we are the best firm to represent you

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    You will remain involved and informed as your case moves forward. You deserve personal attention, and we will provide it.

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    A History of Success

    We will devote our full resources and attention to seeking results for you. Our firm will do everything we can to win your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

At the Mara Law Firm, we understand how difficult it can be for employees to fight back against their employers who violate California employment laws. Here are some frequently asked questions.

How much should I be paid for my overtime hours?

In California, an employer must pay employees at or above the California minimum wage for all hours worked. This time you must be paid for in California including all hours your employer requires or permits you to work or subjects you to their control. Workers subject to the employer’s control must be compensated even if they are not performing any work.

When am I supposed to be paid overtime wages?

California requires employers to pay overtime to non-exempt employees as follows:

One and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of forty hours in a workweek or eight hours up to including twelve hours in any workday, and for eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek; and

Two times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of twelve hours in any workday and for all hours worked in excess of eight on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.

Please contact our office for more information.

What does a workday and a workweek count as under the California Labor Code?

A workday is any consecutive 24-hour period beginning at the same time each calendar day. The normal workday in California is from 12:00am to 12:00pm. However, employers can set different workdays as long as they do not change around the workdays for the purposes of dodging the state’s overtime requirements.

A workweek refers to any seven consecutive days, starting with the same calendar day each week; that is, a workweek is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours, seven consecutive 24-hour periods.

What if my paycheck is late?

Your employer has to pay your wages on time. If your paycheck is late, you could be owed monetary relief in the form of penalties against your employer.

Am I owed more money if my employer does not pay all my wages at termination?

Yes. If you leave your company, depending on when you gave notice, you are owed all your wages – which includes vacation wages, wages for all hours worked, and wages for missed meal and rest period premiums – on either your last day or no later than three days after your last day. If you are not paid on time at termination, your employer must pay you what is called “waiting time penalties.” For untimely wage payment at the time of termination, you are owed your daily wage for every day your final payment is late, up to thirty days’ worth of wages.

How to find the best employment attorney in California?

The main goal of the best employment lawyer is to ensure that your legal rights as an employee in California are protected and your employer treats you fairly. Do not hesitate to contact an employment lawyer at Mara Law Firm who will go above and beyond to win your case.

What should I do if my employer retaliates against me for filing an employment claim in California?

Many employees fail to report concerns or file employment complaints because they fear retaliation from their employers. The good news is that the law prohibits such retaliation, and you can file a claim for unlawful retaliation should this occur. Always discuss any potential retaliation with our employment lawyers so we can fully address all violations that apply in your case.

Is California an at-will state?

Yes, San Diego follows at-will employment laws. This means that both employers and employees have the right to terminate employment relationships when they choose – and without any specific reason.

However, the law does not allow termination without any restrictions. There are still certain reasons for firing an employee that can violate their rights under employment laws. In this situation, a firing can constitute wrongful termination, and you can have important legal rights. Discuss the situation with an employment attorney immediately.

I was just fired – How do I know if it was a wrongful termination?

There are many reasons for wrongful termination, and it can sometimes be challenging to recognize when this occurs. Some reasons for unlawful firing include:

  • Unlawful discrimination, including sex, age, race, or disability discrimination
  • Refusing to engage in sexual conduct with a superior (quid pro quo harassment)
  • Refusing to engage in unlawful or unethical conduct your employer requests
  • Retaliation for reporting safety hazards, wage theft, or other legal violations by your employer
  • Retaliation for taking family or medical leave or filing a workers’ compensation claim
  • Exercising a lawful employment right

If you suspect the reason behind your firing might be wrongful termination, allow an employment lawyer to evaluate what happened.

What should I do if I was fired?

Getting fired can be highly stressful, even if your employer was justified in doing so under the law. However, if you ever believe you were wrongfully terminated or treated unfairly, never hesitate to schedule a free legal consultation.

Often, employers will give pretextual reasons to cover up a wrongful termination, but an experienced lawyer can identify when your firing violated the law. They can advise you of your rights to take action and hold your employer accountable for violating your rights.

Is it legal to be paid less than minimum wage?

Generally speaking, an employer cannot pay less than California’s minimum wage per hour of work completed. Employers cannot expect employees to complete work off the clock to avoid paying for minimum wage for every hour. However, there are some specific exceptions to the minimum wage requirements in CA.

For example, an employer might not always have to pay minimum wage for the following:

  • Full-time students who are school employees
  • Employees under age 20 for the first 90 days of employment
  • Camp counselors
  • Workers with disabilities who do not work at full capacity
  • Salespeople who spend most of their work hours away from the office

How many holidays is an employee legally entitled to?

Neither federal nor California state law requires employers to give their employees time off on holidays. While many employers observe major holidays, no law requires them to close the business and allow employees to take the day off.

However, some people observe religious holidays and might not work on such days in line with their religious practice. If an employee requests time off for a holiday as a religious accommodation, the employer should grant it unless doing so would cause undue hardship for the employer.

Can an employee on disability or medical leave be fired?

The law prohibits employers from firing anyone because of a medical condition or mental or physical disability. However, some situations are more complicated, and an employer might fire someone during their disability or medical leave – but it cannot be because of their condition.

While the law protects your job while you are on medical leave, the employer can still find reasons to fire you. They might claim they restructured the company and your position no longer exists for a similar reason.

Even if your employer seems to have a legitimate reason, always allow an employment attorney to assess your situation and legal rights.

Can an employer force you to travel for work in California?

In basic terms, an employer cannot force you to travel on your job in California without your consent. Both federal and state employment legislation take this factor into account.

Read more on: Can an Employer Force You To Travel?

How can a minor get a work permit in CA during summer?

By the age of 14, you may be interested in getting a part-time job to earn some extra cash. If you are a minor who wants to get a summer job in California, you will need a work permit.

Read on: How to Get a Work Permit in California During the Summer

Can my employer combine rest and meal breaks?

Under the law, rest and meal breaks are meant to be taken separately in California. Combining them might seem like a tempting way to take a longer break or leave work early.

Read on: Can You Combine Rest and Meal Breaks in California?

Are I'm entitled to be paid for employee parking?

In California, employers are not legally required to pay for employee parking under statewide laws. However, businesses must stay informed about local zoning regulations that could impact parking requirements and ordinances.

Read on: Employee Parking Laws in California

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If you are in need of employment litigation attorney in California or have been injured overseas while under a military contract and are in need of a defense base act attorney. Please fill out the form below and contact us immediately for a FREE consultation.

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