Controversial Overtime Pay Ruling Promotes Safety, Protects California Workers Says BISNAR | CHASE

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A recent ruling designed to prevent California companies from skirting wage laws by bringing in temporary out-of-state workers not only helps to protect jobs in this state, it promotes on-the-job safety too, according to BISNAR | CHASE (BestAttorney.com).

BISNAR | CHASE Employment Law, Jerusalem Beligan

Jerusalem Beligan, Employment Law Expert and Personal Injury Attorney

This ruling will discourage employers from substituting California employees with lower-paid workers from other states, while preventing the possibility of untrained workers putting residents at risk.

The California personal injury attorneys of BISNAR | CHASE (BestAttorney.com) say a recent ruling designed to prevent California companies from skirting wage laws by bringing in temporary out-of-state workers not only helps to protect jobs in this state, it promotes on-the-job safety too.

In a unanimous decision late last week, the California Supreme Court ruled that non-state residents employed by California companies are protected by California overtime laws when they travel here for work [Sullivan v. Oracle Corp. Case # CV-05-00392-AHS].

Because the existing guidelines were relatively unclear, most California companies paid employees based on the labor laws of their resident states.

Opponents of the controversial ruling feared hundreds of lawsuits against California companies would arise, while business travel to California would diminish. Proponents of the ruling, like Jerusalem Beligan, an employment law expert and personal injury attorney at BISNAR | CHASE, says both jobs and lives could very well be saved.    

"Not only will this ruling discourage employers from substituting California employees with lower-paid workers from other states, it helps to prevent the possibility of untrained workers putting California residents at risk," said Beligan. "I view this as an issue of public safety and I applaud the ruling."

Beligan believes cheap labor often comes in the form of lesser-skilled labor, which can lead to accidents on the job, mistakes in the workplace and ultimately, dangers to the public. Those dangers can lead to increased employer and taxpayer costs in California for injuries, medical costs, litigation and more.

The ruling came from a class action lawsuit against Oracle Corp., a San Francisco-area software company, by workers from Arizona and Colorado who were temporarily brought into California to train Oracle's customers on how to use its products.

California workers are paid for overtime while Arizona has no overtime law. What's more, Colorado's law doesn't extend beyond the state's borders. The case against Oracle involved claims that could wind up costing the company tens of millions of dollars, according to news reports1.

According to Beligan, the upsides of this ruling far outweigh the downsides.

"It's a win for everyone, really," said Beligan. "It's a victory against outsourcing which impacts local jobs. It's a victory against unfair treatment of workers, no matter where they reside. And it enhances public safety by making California companies accountable to trained, safety conscious California workers."

As for the fear of a rise in lawsuits against California companies, Beligan says companies in violation of fair labor standards are subject to lawsuits under federal regulations anyway.

"If a company misclassifies employees and does not pay them for overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week, it would have been subject to a class action suit prior to last week's ruling. What the ruling did, however, is make the guidelines very clear, while expanding legal remedies available to non-resident employees for things such as daily overtime violations, paycheck stub violations and meal-and-rest violations."

1 Los Angeles Times, Maura Dolan, California overtime-pay laws protect nonresidents too, court rules, July 1, 2011, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-california-overtime-20110701,0,5271758.story

About BISNAR | CHASE

The BISNAR|CHASE California Employment Law Attorneys represent people who have not been properly paid or have not received the benefits required by California and Federal law. The law firm’s attorneys have won a wide variety of challenging cases against a number of Fortune 500 companies. For more information, please visit http://www.bestattorney.com/about.html.

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