Overview of Employment Law in San Bernardino

San Bernardino’s employment landscape is governed by a comprehensive legal framework that encompasses both federal and state laws. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) serves as the primary legislation, prohibiting discrimination and harassment in employment based on protected characteristics such as race, religion, gender, and disability. Additionally, local ordinances, such as the San Bernardino Municipal Code, provide further regulations and protections for employees within the city limits.

Federal Laws

Federal laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), establish minimum wage, overtime pay, and collective bargaining rights for employees. These laws apply to all employers engaged in interstate commerce, regardless of their location or size.

State Laws

California’s labor laws are among the most progressive in the nation. FEHA prohibits discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in employment, and provides remedies for violations. Other state laws, such as the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), grant employees the right to take unpaid leave for family and medical reasons.

Local Ordinances

The City of San Bernardino has enacted several ordinances that impact employment within its jurisdiction. These ordinances address issues such as minimum wage, paid sick leave, and workplace safety. Employers operating in San Bernardino must be aware of these local regulations to ensure compliance.

Types of Employment Lawyers

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Employment lawyers specialize in various areas of law that affect the workplace. They can provide guidance and representation to both employers and employees on a wide range of legal issues.

Different types of employment lawyers include:

Discrimination Lawyers

Discrimination lawyers handle cases involving discrimination based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, religion, age, disability, and national origin. They can assist clients with filing complaints, negotiating settlements, and representing them in court.

Wage and Hour Lawyers

Wage and hour lawyers specialize in laws governing wages, overtime pay, and other compensation issues. They can help clients recover unpaid wages, overtime pay, and other benefits they are entitled to.

Wrongful Termination Lawyers

Wrongful termination lawyers represent employees who have been wrongfully terminated from their jobs. They can help clients file lawsuits, negotiate severance packages, and pursue other legal remedies.

Harassment Lawyers

Harassment lawyers handle cases involving workplace harassment, including sexual harassment, racial harassment, and other forms of unlawful conduct. They can assist clients with filing complaints, obtaining restraining orders, and pursuing other legal actions.

Employee Benefits Lawyers

Employee benefits lawyers specialize in laws governing employee benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. They can help clients understand their benefits, negotiate with employers, and file claims for benefits.

Labor Law Lawyers

Labor law lawyers represent unions and employees in matters involving collective bargaining, strikes, and other labor relations issues. They can assist clients with negotiating contracts, filing grievances, and pursuing legal actions.

Common Employment Law Issues

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Employment law is a complex field, and many legal issues can arise in the workplace. In San Bernardino, employees and employers commonly face various employment-related legal challenges.

One common issue is discrimination. Discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee differently based on a protected characteristic, such as race, gender, religion, or age. Discrimination can manifest in various forms, including hiring, firing, promotion, pay, and benefits.

Another common issue is harassment. Harassment occurs when an employee is subjected to unwelcome conduct that creates a hostile or intimidating work environment. Harassment can be verbal, physical, or sexual in nature.

Wrongful termination is another common employment law issue. Wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires an employee without a valid reason or in violation of the law. Wrongful termination can result in significant financial and emotional distress for the employee.

Wage disputes are also common in San Bernardino. Wage disputes can arise when an employer fails to pay employees the wages they are owed, including overtime pay, minimum wage, or commissions. Wage disputes can have a significant impact on employees’ financial well-being.

Finding an Employment Lawyer

Choosing an employment lawyer is a critical step in protecting your rights and pursuing your legal options. Consider the following factors when selecting an attorney:

  • Expertise: Look for lawyers who specialize in employment law and have a proven track record of success.
  • Experience: Seek lawyers with extensive experience handling cases similar to yours.
  • Reputation: Research the lawyer’s reputation among clients and peers to ensure they are well-respected.
  • Communication: Choose a lawyer who communicates effectively, listens attentively, and keeps you informed throughout the process.
  • Fees: Discuss the lawyer’s fees and payment structure upfront to avoid any surprises.

Tips for Finding Reputable Employment Lawyers

  1. Referrals: Ask friends, family, or colleagues for recommendations.
  2. Online directories: Utilize websites like Avvo, FindLaw, and LinkedIn to search for lawyers in your area.
  3. Bar associations: Contact your local or state bar association for a list of employment law attorneys.
  4. Legal aid organizations: Explore non-profit organizations that provide free or low-cost legal assistance to employees.
  5. Attend seminars and workshops: Employment law attorneys often host educational events where you can meet and evaluate their expertise.

Legal Representation for Employees

Employment lawyers play a crucial role in safeguarding the rights of employees. They provide legal guidance, represent employees in legal proceedings, and assist in resolving workplace disputes.

By engaging an employment lawyer, employees can access expert legal advice, ensuring their rights are protected. Employment lawyers can represent employees in various legal matters, including discrimination, wrongful termination, wage and hour violations, and workplace harassment. They can negotiate settlements, file lawsuits, and advocate for employees’ best interests throughout the legal process.

Negotiation and Settlement

Employment lawyers can engage in negotiations with employers on behalf of their clients. They can assist in drafting and reviewing settlement agreements, ensuring that employees’ rights are adequately protected. By negotiating favorable settlements, employment lawyers can help employees resolve workplace disputes without the need for lengthy and costly legal proceedings.


In cases where negotiation fails, employment lawyers can represent employees in court. They can file lawsuits, present evidence, and advocate for their clients’ rights. Employment lawyers have the expertise and experience necessary to navigate the legal system and present a strong case on behalf of their clients.

Workplace Investigations

Employment lawyers can assist employees in conducting workplace investigations. They can provide guidance on the investigation process, help gather evidence, and ensure that employees’ rights are respected throughout the investigation.

Legal Representation for Employers

Employment lawyers play a crucial role in representing employers, ensuring compliance with employment laws and regulations. They provide guidance on hiring, firing, workplace policies, and other employment-related matters. By understanding the legal landscape, they help employers navigate complex legal issues and minimize risks.

Compliance Guidance

Employment lawyers advise employers on various laws and regulations, including the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. They ensure that employers comply with these laws, preventing potential legal claims and penalties. By providing training and education to employees and supervisors, they help foster a positive and compliant work environment.

Defense Against Legal Claims

In the event of legal claims, such as discrimination, wrongful termination, or harassment, employment lawyers represent employers in negotiations, mediations, and litigation. They investigate claims, gather evidence, and develop legal strategies to protect the employer’s interests. Their expertise in employment law helps them effectively defend against these claims, minimizing legal liability and reputational damage.

Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining

Employment lawyers also assist employers in labor relations and collective bargaining with unions. They advise on unionization efforts, negotiate labor contracts, and represent employers in grievance and arbitration proceedings. Their knowledge of labor laws and union contracts helps employers maintain harmonious labor relations and avoid costly disputes.

Recent Legal Developments

Employment law in San Bernardino is constantly evolving, with new legal developments and case law emerging regularly. These developments can have a significant impact on both employers and employees, and it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest changes.

One recent legal development that has had a major impact on employment law in San Bernardino is the passage of the Fair Pay Act. This act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on their gender when it comes to wages and benefits. As a result of this act, many employers have had to review their pay practices to ensure that they are in compliance.

Another recent legal development that has affected employment law in San Bernardino is the rise of the gig economy. The gig economy is a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. This has led to a number of new challenges for employment lawyers, as they must now grapple with issues such as worker classification and independent contractor status.

These are just a few of the recent legal developments that have impacted employment law in San Bernardino. Employers and employees should be aware of these changes and how they may affect them.

Recent Case Law

In addition to the above legal developments, there have also been a number of recent court cases that have had a significant impact on employment law in San Bernardino. These cases have addressed a variety of issues, including:

  • Discrimination
  • Harassment
  • Wage and hour violations
  • Wrongful termination

These cases have helped to clarify the law on these issues and have provided important guidance to employers and employees.

Resources for Employment Lawyers

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Employment lawyers in San Bernardino have access to a wealth of resources to assist them in their practice. These resources include organizations, legal databases, and continuing education opportunities.


The San Bernardino County Bar Association has an Employment Law Section that provides networking opportunities, continuing education, and advocacy for employment lawyers. The California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA) is a statewide organization that provides resources and support to employment lawyers.

Legal Databases

LexisNexis and Westlaw are two legal databases that provide access to a vast collection of legal resources, including case law, statutes, and legal treatises. These databases are essential for employment lawyers who need to research the law and stay up-to-date on legal developments.

Continuing Education

The San Bernardino County Bar Association and CELA offer continuing education courses on a variety of employment law topics. These courses are designed to help employment lawyers stay current on the latest legal developments and improve their skills.


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