Which state would be applicable for employement laws?
Posted: 29 April 2009 06:55 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I have an employee who lives in the state of California.  He was offered a job in the state with the expectation of traveling 100%.  He just so happens to travel during the week to Alaska.  He resides in CA and pays state taxes to CA.  He stays in a hotel during the week in Alaska.  My question is, which state would cover him for employment, wage and hour law?  California or Alaska or both?  Basically, I want to know if California IWC exemption laws would be applicable.

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Posted: 29 April 2009 07:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Employees are typically subject to the laws that apply where they work. Generally, state laws and agencies govern all employment within their state lines, including workers who are only temporarily present. Moreover, state laws usually do not control what occurs across their borders.

In 2003, the US Supreme Court wrote, “A basic principle of federalism is that each State may make its own reasoned judgment about what conduct is permitted or proscribed within its borders, and each State alone can determine what measure of punishment, if any, to impose on a defendant who acts within its jurisdiction.” [State Farm v. Campbell (2003) 538 US __, no. 01-1289, which also cited Huntington v. Attrill (1892) 146 US 657 (“Laws have no force of themselves beyond the jurisdiction of the State which enacts them…”).]

However, it’s possible that out-of-state work may be covered by both the state law where it is performed as well as by the state where the employee is based. This is indicated in a California Labor Commissioner (DLSE) Opinion Letter, which you can see at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/opinions/2002-06-12.pdf online, which suggests that California overtime laws might apply to California-based workers while they’re overseas.

When employees work both in and out of a state, their work/benefits may be allocated for specific purposes (e.g., unemployment or other state benefits). To learn more about an employee’s eligibility for state benefits when they also work out-of-state, please see the California EDD’s multistate employment bulletin at http://www.edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/de231d.pdf online.

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