San Diego Employment Lawyer



There are intricate laws protecting employees in San Diego from abuse by employers. Legal protections extend to instances of financial abuse, which can happen when an employer withholds wages, fails to pay overtime, or violates laws that require Californian employers to pay certain employees even when those employees aren’t working.

If you have had a wage-related disagreement with a current or former employer, you should speak with a San Diego employment lawyer from Mara Law Firm. We will promptly review your case and help you get any wages, vacation pay, or other forms of income you’re entitled to.

Who Should Hire a San Diego Employment Lawyer from Mara Law Firm?

Anyone who believes they’re owed compensation should speak with Mara Law Firm. California has robust employee protections, but pro-employee laws can be difficult to grasp. The San Diego attorneys at Mara Law Firm focus on employment issues day-in and day-out. 

We help a wide range of employed and unemployed clients who:

  • Are trying to get unpaid wages from a current or former employer
  • Were paid less than minimum wage and are seeking retroactive pay 
  • Worked overtime but did not receive overtime wages
  • Were forced to work without the opportunity for meals or breaks, which is illegal in California
  • Have work-related expenses that their employer refuses to reimburse
  • Have accrued vacation pay that their current or former employer won’t reimburse them for
  • Received fewer wages than their employer promised in a contract 
  • Employees who have had to spend time on work-related activities but were not paid for the time

We also help former defense contractors who suffer injuries while working overseas. However, our San Diego employment lawyers typically help clients who are seeking various types of unpaid compensation. 

If you believe that a current or former employer has not compensated you fairly for your efforts, the Mara Law Firm team can fight for the money you deserve.

We Help Clients Get the Wages They Have Earned

Californian employees have the benefit of many protective laws, including but not limited to the California Equal Pay Act. Unfortunately, many Californians do not know the specifics of protective legislation. Often, both terminated, resigned, and employed individuals leave money that they’ve earned on the table without realizing it.

San Diego Employment Lawyer

Did you know that:

  • If an employer has you “under their control”, they must pay you for your time, even if you’re not completing work. An example is an employer that requires you to be on standby for a client call or meeting for several hours. Another typical example is truck drivers who get paid by the mile but spend hours waiting for freight to arrive at a terminal.
  • If an employer requires you to undergo a security search after termination or resignation, they must pay you for this time.
  • If you have to travel for work, you deserve payment for travel time.

We often encounter clients who are surprised to learn that they’ve been deprived of fair wages. In some cases, the clients are simply surprised by how much their unpaid wages are worth.

Our mission is to help San Diegans get the wages they’ve earned. If you have recently resigned or been terminated, it is worth discussing your case with an employment lawyer from our team serving San Diego. You can also speak with us if you’re currently employed but suspect you’ve been deprived of wages.

How an Employment Lawyer from Mara Law Firm Will Fight for Your Financial Recovery in San Diego

Our attorneys allow you to continue focusing on personal and professional responsibilities. We’ll handle your employment law case in San Diego from start to finish, and our duties may include the following:

Investigating Your Specific Employment Law Issue

Though there are common legal violations among employers in California, each of our clients has a unique story of wage theft to tell. Our firm will investigate your employer’s potential employment law violation by:

  • Documenting your account of potential wage theft
  • Speaking with any witnesses to your wage theft
  • Hiring experts to analyze your specific case
  • Obtaining any documentation that helps us prove wage theft
  • Reviewing any correspondence you’ve received from your employer, which may serve as evidence in our case

Because the Mara Law Firm team has years of experience leading cases like yours, we know the telltale signs of employment law violations. 

Initiating Legal Action Against the Liable Employer

Once we have reviewed your case, we’ll start a lawsuit or other appropriate action against your employer or former employer. 

Negotiating a Settlement

Whether we file a lawsuit or pursue another type of action, we’ll end up negotiating for the compensation you are entitled to. Employers and other liable parties often fight against having to pay additional wages (or other damages), but our employment law attorneys are relentless negotiators.

Taking Your Case to Court in San Diego, If We Need To

When Mara Law Firm accepts an employment law case in San Diego, we vow to fight for the entire financial recovery our client deserves. If that means we need to take your case to trial, we will take your case to trial.

What Sets Mara Law Firm Apart from Other Employment Law Firms in San Diego?

Mara Law Firm has several defining features that lead clients to hire us for employment law cases in San Diego, including:

  • Our focus on employment law: Our choice to serve employment law clients exclusively provides a deep, complex knowledge of employment law in California. Our attorneys are thoroughly prepared for whatever employment law issue you have.
  • Our experience fighting for employees in San Diego: We have successfully handled a wide variety of employment law cases in San Diego. Our attorneys have proven the ability to get compensation in a broad range of case types.
  • Our former clients endorse us: When it comes to a law firm’s fitness to lead your case, the proof is in the words of former clients. Our client testimonials reveal a competent, aggressive, client-focused legal team.

The Mara Law Firm has proven its value to employees deprived of fair wages. We’ll prove our value to you, too.

Call Today for a Free Consultation About Our Employment Law Services in San Diego

California Employment Law Attorney David Mara

Don’t wait to contact Mara Law Firm to discuss your employment law case in San Diego. We may face a deadline for filing your case, and we’ll want to get any evidence that’s in your employer’s possession as soon as possible. We’re just waiting to hear from you. Contact Mara Law Firm today for your free consultation.

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Employment Law FAQs

Is California an at-will state?

Yes, California 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 was in violation of 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 San Diego?

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

Read on: Can an Employer Force You To Travel?

How can a minor get a work permit in San Diego 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 San Diego, 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 San Diego. 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 San Diego, 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


This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney David Mara who has more than 20 years of legal experience in employment law.

  • 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!

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  • 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...

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  • 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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