California's Wage Laws Reach Outside State's Borders

Multi-state employers - take note. In today's mobile world, employees travel from place to place, performing duties as the job requires. When an employee lives in Arizona and works all over the place, including California, must the employee be paid under California law?

Well, yes, at least for the work performed in California, according to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In what appears to be a straightforward application of "choice of law" principles, the court has probably wreaked havoc on payroll systems, human resources departments, and risk managers all over America. So, Oracle employed instructors who taught other companies' employees how to use Oracle software. Some of the employees lived in Arizona or Colorado, but performed some of the work (sometimes in partial weeks), in California.

The Court of Appeals said that when the non-resident employees work in California, California wage and hour law applies. The court did not say when this rule kicks in - what if an employee flies over California, just passes through, visits California for a one-day business trip, etc.? The question mark means: I dunno. But I know what my next article is going to be about.

The case is Sullivan v. Oracle Corp. Here is the opinion.