San Diego Employee Rights 2024 – All You Need to Know

Frank S. Clowney III

Every year, Californians are met with a litany of new labor laws, and 2024 carries on that tradition. It is crucial, as an employee, to know and understand your San Diego employee rights so that your employer cannot treat you badly without facing the consequences. The reality is that there are some employers out there who will take advantage of their workers if they can.

If you believe your employee rights have been violated, a dedicated employment lawyer can help you understand what you’re entitled to and determine what course of action should be taken if your workplace rights are being abused. These legal proceedings can oftentimes be complicated and leave victims of employee rights violations feeling overwhelmed. That’s why having a trusted employment lawyer on your side is essential.

Employee Rights in San Diego

As a San Diego employee, depending on your situation, if any protections or issues regarding your rights have been violated, you have the right to file a complaint against your employer. Because of this, it is vital to understand what rights you are entitled to.

Under California law, all workers in the San Diego area have rights that protect them from being discriminated against or taken advantage of. These laws protect an employee’s rights to adequate meal and rest breaks, fair overtime pay, sick time provisions, and minimum wage. These laws also cover issues such as paid medical and family leave, workers’ compensation, disability accommodations, and retaliation.

Minimum Wage, Overtime, and Break Laws

Effective in January of 2024, the statewide minimum wage increased to $16 per hour required of all employers. However, the city of San Diego’s minimum wage increased to $16.85. According to this new law, employees who work at least two hours in one week within the city limits are entitled to this wage increase.

If your employer does not adhere to this new requirement, they are violating your most basic employment right and can be legally held accountable for their actions. In these cases, compensation most often sees the employee seeking back pay for money rightfully earned.

Overtime rules in San Diego and statewide come into play when an employee has worked more than eight hours per day or more than 40 hours in one week. If this occurs, the employee is entitled to no less than one and one-half times their regular pay rate.

In addition to minimum wage requirements and overtime pay, San Diego employees are also entitled to meal and rest breaks during their workday. According to state law, all non-exempt workers have a right to one unpaid meal break lasting 30 minutes and two unpaid 10-minute rest breaks during their eight-hour shift. The meal breaks should take place before the fifth hour of the workday ends. Ten-minute rest breaks should occur once every four hours.

If you require more time to perform certain personal tasks, such as pumping breast milk, you can ask your employer for the necessary extra time. If they refuse your request, a complaint should be filed with the labor commissioner.

Discrimination and Harassment Policies

Under California law, all employees in San Diego are protected from discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Discrimination and harassment can occur when an employee is treated poorly or differently based on certain personal characteristics like race, gender, religion, age, or sexuality. When situations like this arise, employers are required to take steps to prevent and correct a hostile work environment.

If you do find yourself in a situation of discrimination or harassment, you have the right to speak with your employer and subsequently file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the California Civil Rights Department if your employer does nothing to prevent and correct the behavior.


Q: What Are My Rights as a California Employee?

A: Employees in the state are entitled to a safe work environment, free from physical risks, but also from hostile behavior from other coworkers or supervisors, minimum wage, rest and meal breaks, overtime pay, the right to take action without fear of retaliation from their employer, and certain benefits if you are injured on the job, on medical leave, or if you find yourself unemployed.

Q: What Is a Hostile Work Environment in California?

A: A hostile work environment in the state is a workplace in which employees face severe, frequent, or pervasive harassment that negatively affects their work abilities, well-being, or job performance. The harassment is usually related to personal characteristics like sex, religion, gender, disabilities, nation of origin, race, or age.

Q: Is California an Employee Friendly State?

A: It is one of the most employee-friendly states in the nation. It adheres to a wide range of protections against discrimination and harassment, protections for wage and hour pay, and protections for those with disabilities. The state also allows paid family leave in certain situations and protection against whistleblower retaliation.

Q: What Are the New Employment Laws in California in 2024?

A: The main change to employment laws in the state in 2024 is the minimum wage change. Effective on January 1, the statewide minimum wage increased to $16 per hour. However, in the city of San Diego, this increase was higher, and the minimum wage required within the city limits for employees who work at least two hours a week is $16.85 an hour.

Contact a Trusted Employment Law Attorney

When your employee rights are violated, this abuse should not be acceptable. If you have experienced discrimination or harassment in the workplace, if your employer refuses you minimum wage, overtime pay, or necessary breaks, you may be entitled to compensation.

At The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney, III, we understand the emotional, mental, and physical toll these violations can have on your career and home life. We will work with dedication to secure the proper recovery of damages in your case.

To learn more about your employment rights and determine what course of action to take if these rights have been violated, contact our law office today. We will come alongside you in whatever situation you’re facing and help you navigate a legal claim if such a course becomes necessary.