On 16 April, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Parker Drilling Management Service Ltd. v. Newton case. The case addresses whether workers employed on drilling platforms more than three miles off the coast of California are entitled to the protections of California’s more worker-friendly wage-and-hours law or a federal statute, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which limits them to the benefits required by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Rig worker Brian Newton won a previous ruling from the 9th Circuit Court that found state employment laws could be extended to personnel working beyond 3 miles from the coast of California. Key considerations on the part of the court appeared to be precedent set by the 5th Circuit Court’s long history of cases adjudicated within its jurisdiction that includes the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. 97% of U.S. offshore labor is employed off Louisiana and Texas. The court is expected to issue its opinion by the end of June.
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