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Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Asks the California Supreme Court to Decide When Out-of-State Employers Must Comply with California Wage Laws

FIRST SUMMARY: The Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is considering three cases involving class actions by airline workers under the California Labor Code, related to two sets of airline employees.  The first set is employees working in California under a collective bargaining agreement. 

FIRST QUESTION FOR THE SUPREME COURT: The Ninth Circuit asked the California Supreme Court to evaluate two things.  The first, is whether the employer must follow California’s detailed requirements, found in Labor Code section 226, about the information an employee must receive on wage statements, or whether a collective bargaining agreement supersedes that statute.  The second, is whether section 226 applies to wage statements an out-of-state employer supplies to an employee who lives in, receives pay in and pays taxes in California, but who works principally outside of the state. 

SECOND SUMMARY: The second set is employees some of whom perform only a small portion of their work in California. 

SECOND SET OF QUESTIONS FOR THE SUPREME COURT: The Ninth Circuit asked the California Supreme Court to decide three things.  First, whether California’s pay period and wage statement laws (Labor Code sections 204 and 226) apply to out-of-state employers paying employees for time worked in California during a pay period, even if the work performed in California lasted less than a full day.  Second, whether California’s minimum wage law applies to all work performed in California for an out-of-state employer by an employee who works in California only occasionally and for less than a day at a time.  Third, to consider a United Airlines pay formula that at times averages flight attendants’ pay in instances where averaging would result in a higher overall rate of pay for hours worked.  The Ninth Circuit asked the California Supreme Court to determine whether California’s prohibition on averaging an employee’s pay applied when the averaging formula was only used in cases where it would result in overall higher pay for the employee, even though the employee did not receive pay for each hour worked.  Ward v. United Airlines, Inc., Vidrio v. United Airlines, Inc, and Oman v. Delta Airlines.  

Please contact Phillip Maltin for further information about these cases pending before the California Supreme Court.