What Is Expense Reimbursement?
There are laws in place in California that require employers to reimburse employees for any business expenses they incur in the course of performing their work duties for the employer. This may seem like a relatively basic concept, and a minor issue in comparison to other wage and hour matters, but it can be difficult for employees to know which of their work-related expenses are eligible for reimbursement, and the exposure for employers who do not appropriately reimburse their employees can be substantial. For example, if you are required to use your personal cell phone for work, have access to the internet or purchase a uniform as a condition of employment, these necessary work-related expenses should be reimbursed by your employer. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. If your employer has failed to reimburse you for work-related expenses, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your losses. Contact our California expense reimbursement lawyer at Davtyan PLC today for qualified legal help.
California Expense Reimbursement Laws
Under California labor law, employers in California are required to reimburse employees for all work-related losses or expenditures directly associated with their jobs. California wage and hour laws offer considerable protections for employees eligible for expense reimbursement, more so than the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does, and these laws give employees denied the reimbursement they are entitled to, the option of filing a legal claim for compensation.
Types of Reimbursement Expenses in CA
The specific types of expenses available for reimbursement depend on the job and the employer, and it is not always clear what expenses are considered work-related. Generally speaking, a mandatory reimbursed expense in California is one that is a required cost of the job. For example, if you are required to have a personal cell phone for your job, or your employer requires you to make calls from your personal phone, your employer may have to reimburse you for a reasonable percentage of your personal cell phone bill. Even if you do not incur any additional out-of-pocket expenses related to the work use of your personal phone, you may still be eligible for reimbursement by your employer. Some commonly reimbursed work expenses include:
- Cell phone service
- Internet service
- Work uniform costs
- Travel expenses
- Driving costs
- Training or education costs
- Conference and registration fees
- Business center expenses
Filing a Lawsuit for Expense Reimbursement
If your employer fails to reimburse you for reasonable work-related expenses, such as the cost of your work uniform, rental car cost or business office expenses, you may be able to seek damages in court. In addition to recovering paid-out expenses related to your job, you may also be able to seek reimbursement of necessary expenditures or losses, such as attorney’s fees and court costs. In some cases, if a number of employees have similar claims against the same employer for unpaid or underpaid expense reimbursements, a wage and hour class action lawsuit may be filed against the employer by the group.
Contact a California Expense Reimbursement Attorney
It is against the law for a California employer to refuse to reimburse employees for necessary expenditures directly related to their job. It is also against the law for an employer to fire or otherwise retaliate against an employee for exercising his or her legal workers’ rights by filing a work expense lawsuit. Any negative action, including termination, by an employer against an employee who cites a wage and hour violation or reports illegal activity is considered unlawful retaliation or wrongful termination. If your employer fires you for bringing a labor violation lawsuit, you may be able to seek reinstatement to your job and recover damages for any lost wages, but it helps to have an experienced California employment law attorney on your side in such cases. For more information about California expense reimbursement laws, or to file a wage and hour claim against your employer, contact Davtyan PLC today.