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California labor and employment law covers many workplace protections for employees, but sadly, big corporations violate these protections over time. 

There are many common labor disputes in California, but some of the top disputes surround expense reimbursements.

Employers are required by state and federal law to reimburse employees for work-related expenses. If your employer refuses to reimburse you for an expense, it might seem like the only thing you can do is remain silent, but you have options.

Let the San Diego employment lawyers at Consumer and Employment Law Group work with you to fight for your expense reimbursement rights if they are violated.

What expenses does my employer have to reimburse in California?

Employers are required to reimburse a variety of operating expenses to their employees. 

If employees pay for them out of pocket, these are some expenses that businesses are required by law to reimburse:

  • Personal cell phone usage for work activities, such as clocking in and out, communicating with co-workers and supervisors, and being on call
  • Required uniforms
  • Safety equipment
  • Tools
  • Mileage
  • Other equipment, including laptops and tablets
  • Home office expenses

As you can imagine, some of these expenses have increased as more companies shift to hybrid or work-from-home models due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How do I file a work expense lawsuit in California?

If you have paid some of these expenses from your own pocket, and your employer has not reimbursed you or refuses to do so, then you may have a legal claim to pursue. You can file a lawsuit for the amount of your unreimbursed expenses. 

You may also be entitled to additional compensation if your employer refuses to reimburse you for these workplace expenses. Your employer may be required to pay you interest, reasonable attorney fees, and other costs to obtain reimbursement.

What if my former employer owes me for work expenses?

California reimbursement laws are more extensive than federal laws, which just require that employees are reimbursed for what they make – minus what they spend on work expenses – to meet minimum wage requirements.

However, California law requires that employees are reimbursed for “all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties.” There is also no minimum requirement.

What’s more, you may even be able to recover damages from a former employer who owes you for workplace expenses. Under California law, employers must reimburse employees, and even former employees, for expenses even if they are requested outside of a company time frame.

What if I am fired for filing a work expense lawsuit?

Some employees might be afraid to file a work expense lawsuit. It can be worrisome if you think your employer will retaliate against you if you try to recover the money that you are owed.

However, there are strict laws against retaliation for employers who retaliate against their employees for lawsuits. Retaliation includes actions like demotions, refusing promotions, unfair training practices, unfair pay, unfair discipline, etc.

If a worker is fired for filing a work expense lawsuit, then it may be considered wrongful termination, which is another legally actionable offense.

If a wrongful termination claim is found to be viable in court, an employer may be required to pay for lost wages, interest, and reasonable attorney fees. They may also be required to reinstate the employee’s job if they wish to return to employment at the company. Otherwise, an employee may be entitled to other equitable relief.

Contact Consumer and Employment Law Group in California Today

Big corporations sometimes neglect their people in order to make a profit. It is an unfortunate fact, but if your current or former employer tried to take advantage of you, and owes you for work expenses, then you aren’t in this alone.

Our San Diego-based team at Consumer and Employment Law Group has what it takes to fight for your workplace rights, as well as years of experience prioritizing people over profit. Don’t wait. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation – the first step to workplace justice.