San Diego Employment Law for Small Business Owners


As a small business owner in San Diego, it is essential to be aware of the various employment laws that govern the workplace. These laws are put in place to protect employees and ensure fair treatment. 

Failure to comply with these laws can lead to legal disputes, which can be costly and time-consuming for small business owners. We will discuss the main San Diego Employment Law with those small business owners who should be familiar.

California Minimum Wage Law

California’s minimum wage is $15.00 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees and $14.00 for employers with 25 or fewer employees. 

It is important to note that San Diego’s minimum wage ordinance requires employers to pay a higher minimum wage. As of January 1, 2023, the minimum wage in San Diego will be $16.30 per hour for all employers.

Anti-Discrimination Laws

California’s anti-discrimination laws protect employees from discrimination based on their age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, and other protected categories. 

It is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees or job applicants based on these categories. Small business owners should know these laws and ensure their hiring, promotion, and termination practices are non-discriminatory.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in 12 months for the birth or adoption of a child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, or when the employee cannot work due to their serious health condition. 

Small business owners with 50 or more employees are required to comply with the FMLA.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is a state-mandated insurance program that benefits employees who are injured or who become ill due to their job. 

Small business owners in San Diego are required to have workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Failure to provide workers’ compensation insurance can result in penalties and legal action.

California Labor Laws

In addition to federal laws, small business owners in San Diego must comply with California Labor Laws. These laws cover various topics, including meal and rest breaks, overtime pay, and employee classifications. Small business owners must be aware of these laws and follow them.

Paid Sick Leave Law

California requires employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Under the San Diego employment law, employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours per year. 

Employers can also provide a lump sum of sick leave at the beginning of the year. San Diego has its sick leave ordinance, which requires employers to provide even more sick leave than state law.

Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

California law requires employers with five or more employees to provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees. The training must be provided every two years and must cover topics such as what constitutes sexual harassment, how to report harassment, and how to prevent harassment from occurring. Employers must keep records of the training for at least two years.

Disability Accommodation Law

Under California law, employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. This includes providing modified work schedules, special equipment, or making other changes to the workplace to help the employee perform their job.

Small business owners should be aware of these requirements and work with their employees to ensure they can perform their job duties to the best of their ability.

Whistleblower Protection Law

California law protects employees who report illegal or unethical behavior by their employer. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who report such behavior. 

Retaliation can include termination, demotion, or any other negative action against the employee. Small business owners should ensure that their employees feel comfortable reporting any illegal or unethical behavior and that they will not face retaliation for doing so.


Small business owners must comply with various San Diego employment law to avoid legal disputes and ensure their employees are treated fairly. The laws mentioned above are just a few examples of employment laws that small business owners must know. 

It is important to consult with an employment law attorney to ensure that your business complies with all applicable laws. By staying informed and proactively complying with employment laws, small business owners can create a positive workplace culture and avoid costly legal battles.

Read More: Learn About Employment Law San Diego Step By Step

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