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Nonresidents of California Deserving of Overtime Pay, Supreme Court Rules

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Sacramento, CAA collection of computer software workers from out-of-state who occasionally were called upon to perform their duties within the state of California now have overtime pay laws on their side, following a ruling by the California Supreme Court.

At issue was a policy employed by Oracle that saw nonresidents of the state of California denied overtime due to the fact they were nonresidents. The plaintiffs, putting their point across through the filing of a class-action lawsuit, argued that on those occasions when they travelled to California at the behest of their employer for work, any claim of overtime for work performed while in California should qualify for overtime.

The California Supreme Court agreed with the plaintiffs.

In their overtime laws ruling, the Supreme Court justices held that there was nothing contained in the language of existing overtime statutes that allowed an employer to deny an employee having worked in excess of 40 hours, while performing work in the state, from overtime claims.

To that end, the Court said, siding with the defendants and the denial to a nonresident of overtime pay for extra hours worked while in California would only encourage employers in the importation of nonresident workers for the express purpose of not having to pay them overtime, when such a need arose.

The Oracle employees involved in the class action were employed as instructors, assisting Oracle customers in the use of Oracle software. They lived in other states and did work for Oracle primarily in their home state.

It's when they travelled to California and found a roadblock when it came to overtime pay, that the employees sought legal help. The 9th Circuit originally heard the case, before the issue moved on to the Supreme Court of California.

Oracle argued that the plaintiffs did not have the right to pursue claims for unpaid overtime due to the fact they were nonresidents. The Supreme Court disagreed, and found for the plaintiffs.

Overtime is one area where employers will often attempt to circumvent California overtime law in an effort to reduce costs, given the difficulty in budgeting for, and forecasting overtime expenditures. Ruses such as mis-classifying employees as being overtime exempt, is but one example. A ruling that would exempt nonresident workers from collecting overtime while working in the state would presumably have resulted in a wave of import workers.

It is not known if the California Supreme Court ruling will be appealed to a higher court.


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