Ok, maybe it is just me, but I think that Sullivan v. Oracle is a really big deal to employers. It certainly bucks the trend of pro-employer rulings of late.
For many employment matters, the operating assumption was that the law of the employee’s home state applied, but not any more. Now, when a non-exempt employee comes to California to work, train, or help out on special assignments, that employee will need to be paid overtime for the time they spend here based on California’s requirements. My head spins when I think of the implications.
Imagine a company with a technical sales and support crew in many different states with an annual training week in its southern California headquarters. Or a company back east that opens an office or retail location in California, and has its best eastern staff help set up the business here. Or a hotel chain that has an employee from out of state come here to assist during busy season or cover for someone on a medical leave. Or a law firm with a main office in the Midwest that sends a paralegal to California to work on a trial. Now, all of these traveling employees (if non-exempt) will need to be paid overtime on an 8-hour day for the time spent here.
Do they need to be given meal and rest breaks as only our state requires? Will their pay-stubs need to be consistent with California requirements too? What about international employees, are they "non-residents" that need to be paid per California’s requirements also? What if the employee qualifies as exempt in her home state, but not here? The questions are endless and the answers are yet to come.
And one more thing. The converse is not true. This case does not stand for the proposition that a California employer is relieved of its duty to pay non-exempt employees daily overtime when they travel out of state. Is your head spinning yet too?