California law requires that an employer reimburse its 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.” Cal. Lab. Code § 2802.
Employees shall be reimbursed only for “necessary expenditures.” Often, employees are required to use specific instruments, tools, or clothing in the performance of their jobs. In cases when an employer expects an employee to purchase the necessary instruments, tools, or clothing with the employee’s own money, then the employee is entitled reimbursement for the cost of the purchased item.
For example, if an employee’s job required use of a power drill, and the employee purchases the power drill for use in his or her job, then the employee would be entitled to reimbursement for the cost of the drill because the employer did not provide one.
Direct Consequence Of The Discharge Of His Or Her Duties
An employee’s expenditure must be in “direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties.” For example, if an employee must use his or her personal cell phone for “work-related calls,” such as to be in contact with the employer, clients, or other people associated with the employee’s performance of his or her job, then the law “requires the employer to reimburse” the employee for “a reasonable percentage” of the employee’s cell phone bill, regardless of whether the employee has a cell phone plan with limited or unlimited minutes. Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc., 228 Cal. App. 4th 1137 (2014).
Similarly, if an employee is required to drive his or another person’s vehicle to perform his work duties, the employee would be entitled to a reasonable reimbursement for fuel expenses directly attributable to the employee’s discharge of his duties.
Contact Sani Law Today
We will aggressively pursue compensation from employers that fail to follow the law. If you believe you and other employees have not been properly reimbursed for instruments, tools, clothing, or other necessities required to perform work for your employer, Contact Sani Law today to schedule a free initial consultation.