The Ninth Circuit today asks the California Supreme Court to answer a question that it says is one “of extreme importance to numerous employees and employers in California” and that has “no clear answer” under California law.  The request — in Frlekin v. Apple Inc. — is not unexpected; the federal appeals court at oral argument signaled this action.

The question in Frlekin is:  “Is time spent on the employer’s premises waiting for, and undergoing, required exit searches of packages or bags voluntarily brought to work purely for personal convenience by employees compensable as ‘hours worked’ within the meaning of California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order No. 7?”

Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit decided an appeal —Frealy v. Reynolds  — based on the Supreme Court’s answer to a referred question of state law in another case.  (The case was called Carmack v. Reynolds in the Supreme Court.)

The Supreme Court should let the Ninth Circuit know by mid-October — give or take — whether it will answer the question in Frlekin.  It probably will.

[August 18 update:  the Supreme Court docketed the Frlekin request yesterday.]