If a corporation has one employee in a state, do all employees fall under that state’s labor law?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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If a corporation has one employee in a state, do all employees fall under that state’s labor law?

If you have a company with headquarters outside of CA but they have one employee in CA, do all employees fall under CA labor law. If not, what is the minimum and how does it work when states default to the state with

the strictest law? I worked for a large corporation in the past with multiple offices in every state, and my understanding is we all were under CA labor law because they had offices in CA. I’m wondering what the minimum requirement is for this and how that affects smaller companies with offices in 1 or 2 states and maybe an employee in CA without a physical branch office.

Asked on October 7, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Nebraska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Labor law is local: EACH employee is governed by the labor laws of the state in which he or she works. So if there is only one CA employee, only that employee is under CA law; if there 10,000 CA employees and one employee in, say, DE, 10,000 people are under CA law and one under DE. 
Many large employers who have offices or staff in CA choose to follow CA law throughout their company, since CA law is generally the most protective of employees and it is easier to follow one law rather than multiple different sets for every location, and following CA law generally means (because it is most protective) that you will be ok everywhere. But that is their choice; they do not need to apply CA law to non-CA employees.

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