A recent first circuit court ruling offers guidance for employers trying to determine what law applies to their out-of-state employees, according to a blog post by attorneys for Little Mendelson.

The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit recently found the Massachusetts Wage Act did not apply to a person who mostly lived and worked in Florida.

While the court’s decision in Viscito v. National Planning Corp. suggests this is a fact-specific question, it offers guidance for employers trying to determine what law applies to their out-of-state employees or “wandering workers.”

The case. Leonard Viscito, a financial advisor who had a business and staff in Massachusetts, signed an independent contractor agreement in 2013 with National Planning Corp., a California-based financial services company. After becoming a resident of Florida in 2014, Viscito spent more than half his time working from Florida.

In 2017, the plaintiff’s relationship with NPC ended, and in August 2018, Viscito sued NPC in a Massachusetts federal district court, alleging NPC had misclassified him as an independent contractor in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law and the Massachusetts Wage Act.

The district court ruled Massachusetts law did not apply in the case, saying, “Massachusetts had a tenuous connection to the relationship between NPC and [Viscito, and] California and Florida had more significant ties.”

The First Circuit agreed, saying, “Massachusetts is not the state with the most significant connection to the employment relationship between NPC and Viscito, and NPC is entitled to summary judgment on Viscito’s Massachusetts statutory claims.”

Given the rise of remote work since the pandemic, determining what state’s laws apply to an employee has never been more critical — or more complicated, according to Littler Mendelson. While this analysis is often conducted on a case-by-case basis, the First Circuit’s decision does offer employers some guidelines to consider in making this determination.

Read the post by Littler Mendelson for more information.