Reimbursement of Business Expenses
Employers must reimburse employees for “all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties, or of his or her obedience to the directions of the employer, even though unlawful, unless the employee, at the time of obeying the directions, believed them to be unlawful.” (Labor Code §2802(a).)
Reimbursement at the IRS mileage rate in effect is presumptively sufficient to cover all expenses associated with the employee’s use of a personal automobile. (DLSE Opinion Letter 1991.02.25–1.) If a reasonable mileage reimbursement is not provided, an employer cannot require that an employee pay for auto insurance to cover all or a portion of the cost of any potential loss or damage incurred when the employee drives a personal car for business purposes. (DLSE Opinion Letter 1993.02.22–3.)
Employers must reimburse employees for the reasonable expense of the necessary work use of a personal cell phone. An employee need only show that he or she was required to use a personal cell phone for work-related purposes and was not reimbursed. (Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Serv., Inc. (2014) 228 CA4th 1137.) This is a required reimbursement regardless of the details of the employee’s cell phone plan, including whether the phone bill is paid for by a third person (or at all) or whether the employee changed plans to accommodate work-related cell phone use. (Id.)
If you are an employee who has not been reimbursed for all business expenses, please contact Lebe Law for a free consultation.