Ken Sulzer provided insight in a May 14, 2018 article published in Law360 on the Ninth Circuit’s request for the California Supreme Court to clarify how far-reaching the state’s wage laws are. The request centers around three cases alleging the airline industry failed to pay adequate minimum wage to airline employees for their work in the state. Given the transient nature of air transportation jobs, the issue has raised the question of which state’s laws employers must follow when dealing with employees who travel across states for their work.

While California labor law is typically in favor of employees, these individuals are in the unique position of working in the state – but only for a few hours each week or month in some cases. Additionally, in two of the three cases, employees want the Court to decide whether wage requirements apply to employees who are based in, reside in and get paid in California, but do not spend most of their working time in the state. The questions have airline carriers on edge, with potentially far-reaching implications in wage and labor law for national transportation companies.

“It is incredibly burdensome and complicated even for California employers to comply with ‘gotcha’ paystub laws, Private Attorneys General Act penalties and the like,” said Sulzer. “In a new economy where employees move and travel, it would make the restrictive California law the de facto law of the 50 states. If the laws of other states develop to conflict with California law, it will be a no-win situation for airlines and any other industries where employees touch in several states.”

For the full article, please click here (subscription required):


Back to Page