SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) – A California judge
has ruled on the Oman v. Delta case and has held that an out-of-state employee
who has limited attendance in California is not obligated by the state to be in
compliance with California wage and hour laws.
Four flight attendants filed a class-action lawsuit against
their employer, Delta Airlines, claiming because they frequently are stationed in
California that the California Labor Code governs their scheduled work for that
pay period and they deserve the benefits that come with that. In response to
the claim, Delta filed a pre-certification summary judgment motion, which
challenged the applicability of Section 226 and Section 204; both laws
requiring wage statements and timing of pay.
Judge William Orrich eventually ruled in Delta’s favor, stating that
since the flight attendants worked minimal hours in California, they were not
eligible for California wage and hour laws. Orrich also noted that Delta
is headquartered outside of California, which further negates the flight
“It would have sown a lot of confusion [if plaintiffs had
won],” Chantelle C. Egan, associate at Seyfarth Shaw in San Francisco, told
Legal Newsline. “Plaintiffs argued that anytime a flight attendant flew in or
out of a California airport, California wage and hour laws applied, even if the
flight attendant was a non-California resident whose work was primarily out-of-state.”
Egan said that If an airline had to comply with
California wage and hour laws every time an out-of-state employee merely
touches land in California, it would create chaos. Changes would have to be
made to employee wages and work schedules, just for those hours worked in
But, according to Egan, the presiding judge also stated that
other factors, including employer’s place of business, nature of the travel
and/or presence in California, could implicate California wage and hour laws in
some other cases.
“The analysis for whether California wage and hour laws apply
to employees who work both in and out of California is a multi-factor test that
relies heavily on the specific facts of each case,” Egan said. “Here, the
airline is not headquartered in California, the flight attendants’ working time
in California was negligible, and the plaintiffs argued that the flight
attendants’ residence was inconsequential.”
Not too long before the ruling in Oman v. Delta, Northern
District Judge Jon S. Tigar ruled that California wage and hour protections did
apply to a case involving several flight attendants who consisted of actual
California residents who often only worked in California airports. That
undisclosed airline is headquartered in California. In another case, the
outcome was very similar to Oman vs. Delta.
“In Ward v. United Airlines Inc.,
District Judge William Alsup ruled that the California wage statement statute
(Labor Code section 226) does not apply to pilots who, though California
residents, work primarily out of state,” Egan said.
Egan believes the case was rightfully decided. Seyfarth
Shaw LLP does not know what the plaintiffs’ plans are regarding any appeal.