Ward v. United Airlines, Inc., 2020 WL 3495310 (Cal. S. Ct. 2020)

Plaintiffs are pilots and flight attendants for United Airlines, which is based outside California.  Although they reside in California, they perform most of their work in airspace outside of California’s jurisdiction.  The employees are not paid according to California wage law, but pursuant to the terms of a collective bargaining agreement entered into under federal labor law.  The question posed in this case to the California Supreme Court by the Ninth Circuit is whether the airline must provide such employees with California-compliant wage statements pursuant to Cal. Lab. Code § 226(a).  The California Supreme Court answered the Ninth Circuit’s questions as follows:  (1) The Railway Labor Act exemption in Wage Order No. 9 does not bar a wage statement claim brought under Section 226 by an employee who is covered by a collective bargaining agreement; and (2) Section 226 applies to wage statements provided by an employer if the employee’s principal place of work is in California. This test is satisfied if the employee works a majority of the time in California or, for interstate transportation workers whose work is not primarily performed in any single state, if the worker has his or her base of work operations in California.  See also Oman v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 2020 WL 3527091 (Cal. S. Ct. 2020) (same rules apply to timing of wage payments pursuant to Cal. Lab. Code § 204).