12/19/2011 // San Francisco, CA, USA // Keller Grover LLP // Bay Area Employment Lawyer Jeffrey Keller

San Francisco, CA (Bay Area Employment Lawyer News) — The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court’s summary judgment in a case where a large software company is accused of failing to pay their workers for overtime work, reports California wage and hour attorney Jeffrey Keller of Keller Grover LLP.

The lower court originally ruled in favor of the Oracle Corporation, who has employed hundreds of workers to train Oracle customers on how to use their software; but after the appeals court certified certain questions of state law to the California Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of the employees, for two of the three counts, the judgments were reversed, court documents revealed.

The court proceedings began when three nonresidents of California filed a would-be class action lawsuit against Oracle, seeking damages under California law for failure to pay overtime wages. The three Oracle employees, who were hired as “Instructors” to educate clients on how to use their software, charged Oracle with three claims:

1. Oracle violated California Labor Code by failing to pay overtime for work performed in California to Instructors who lived in other states, but completed work in California.

2. Oracle violated California’s Unfair Competition Law.

3. Two of the plaintiffs charged Oracle with failing to pay overtime work performed throughout the United States, a violation of the Federal Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA).

According to the lawsuit, Oracle classified its Instructors as “teachers” for several years. By being classified as a “teacher” they were exempt from the overtime provisions of California’s Labor Code and FLSA. But in 2003, Oracle reclassified its California-based Instructors and started compensating them for overtime work, and then reclassified the rest of its workers in the U.S. in 2004, and also began paying them overtime wages. Oracle did not reimburse employees retroactively for overtime wages prior to the reclassification.

Among the allegations, the plaintiffs also asserted that Oracle misclassified its Instructors under the Labor Code and FLSA, San Francisco employment lawyer Jeffrey Keller reports.

After the district court granted a summary judgment to Oracle on all three claims, the plaintiffs filed an appeal. The district court stated that with regard to the first and second claims that the California Labor Code did not apply to nonresidents who work primarily in other states, while the court contended that work performed outside of California for which payment was less than what FLSA requires, is not a violation of labor laws.

The court of appeals reversed the summary judgment in part, by overturning the first and second claims and reaffirmed the third claim. The California Supreme Court had recently found that such claims were valid, forming the basis for the Ninth Circuit’s ruling.

This news was brought to you by the San Francisco wage and hour lawyers at Keller Grover LLP.

Keller Grover is a highly experienced employment law firm that has played leading roles in a wide variety of employment related claims, including breach of contract cases and discrimination and harassment cases based on race, sex, age, disability and other legally protected categories. Keller Grover LLP is dedicated to helping workers whose wage and hour rights have been violated. For more information about the Bay Area employment lawyers at Keller Grover or wage and hour law cases, please visit www.kellergover.com.

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