. California courts have held that waiving the right to Labor Code section 2802 reimbursement is against public policy. v. ABM Industries, Inc., a class action involving a California class of over 3,000 cleaning employees who claim that they were not reimbursed under Labor Code section 2802 for the expense of required … Cochran illustrates the trend of California courts in broadly applying Labor Code section 2802. Whether the employees have cell phone plans with unlimited minutes or limited minutes, the reimbursement owed is a reasonable percentage of their cell phone … As with most employment-related violations in California, the penalties for failure to comply with section 2802 can be severe. Lab. Cochran held that “when employees must use their personal cell phones for work-related calls, Labor Code section 2802 requires the employer to reimburse them.” The Court refers to a provision of the California Labor Code requiring employers to reimburse employees for “all necessary expenditures or … Section 2802 liberally applies to many expenses that employees may be required to incur to perform their jobs, including vehicle expenses, travel expenses, and cell phone and internet plans. Labor Code Section 2802 … . Under California Labor Code Section 2802 and court decisions in Gattuso v. Harte-Hanks Shoppers, Inc., 42 Cal.4th 554 (2007) and Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc., 228 Cal.App.4th 1137 (2014), employers are required to reimburse employees for all “necessary” and “reasonable” expenses. Corbett H. Williams is an experienced lawyer who represents California employees in a wide range of matters, including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, retaliation, whistleblower, class action, and wage & hour cases. Although the Cochrancourt only considered phone calls made on personal cell phones, employer’s increasing reliance on smart phone’s sophisticated data-consuming capabilities, such as mandating the use of employer applications, are also covered under Labor Code section 2802. Recently, a California court of appeal applied Section 2802 to work-related cell phone use. This means that if your employer requires you to have a cell phone or smart phone for work purposes, your employer MUST reimburse you for the costs of providing the phone. To see the importance of the ruling in Cochran, consider an employee who purchases a smart phone or a computer or pays monthly fees for a minute plan, a data plan, or home internet access. This is also true even if you use your phone both for personal and work purposes. The Legislature’s intent is that employees should not bear losses or expenses incurred in the service of their employers. The answer is that reimbursement is always required. Edwards v. Arthur Anderson LLP, 44 Cal. In Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, 228 Cal. California Law on Reimbursement of Employee Cell Phone Expenses, Employee Home Internet Cost Reimbursement, Workplace Disability Discrimination: What California Employees Should Know, The Basics Of The Duty To Defend In California, The Basics of Insurance “Bad Faith” In California, Anyone Can Read And Understand An Insurance Policy. Who is submitting the receipt? © 2020 Law Offices of Corbett H. Williams, All Rights Reserved. Reimbursement of employee cell phone expenses is governed by California Labor Code Section 2802, which provides: An employer shall indemnify his or her employee 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 … Thus, any agreement made by an employee to waive their right to reimbursement is void. When employees must use their personal cell phones for work-related calls, Labor Code section 2802 requires the employer to reimburse them. California Labor Code Sec. This article addresses when and to what extent Labor Code § 2802 requires that employees be reimbursed for these sorts of remote-work expenses. Just this week the California Court of Appeal held that “when employees must use their personal cell phones for work-related calls, Labor Code section 2802 requires the employer to reimburse them.” California Labor Code section 2802 provides employees reimbursement from their employer for all … App. Many employees regularly use their personal cell phones for work-related calls. California Labor Code section 2802 obligates employers to reimburse employees for “all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties, …” The Cochran decision posed, and answered, the “threshold question” presented on appeal as follows: The trial court denied Cochran’s motion to certify the class and Cochran appealed. The court of appeal explained that if an employee is required to make work-related calls on a personal cell phone, then he or she is incurring an expense for purposes of Labor Code Section 2802. Under the California labor code, section 2802, all business use of a personal cell phone must be reimbursed. This is true regardless of whether the employer has a stated policy that employees have a phone, or simply uses your phone to regularly communicate with you, either by voice or text. Besides being a great attorney who cares she is a nice person. Through social entre­pre­neurship, we’re lowering the cost of legal services and increasing citizen access. Reimbursement of employee cell phone expenses is governed by California Labor Code Section 2802, which provides: An employer shall indemnify his or her employee 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 . Risk-averse employers may choose to reimburse the entire home internet bill. Citing Section 2802, plaintiffs' attorneys have aggressively pursued claims against California employers for failure to reimburse various employee expenses, including home internet and cell phone … While these standards don't apply in every state or country, employers should be aware of the standards currently being enforced in California, because history tells us that most U.S. states that favor … According to Lara C. de Leon , a shareholder in the Orange County office of Ogletree Deakins, “The court’s ruling is a stark reminder that the realities … California Labor Code § 2804. Longer Answer with Practice Recommendations: An Employer Must Reimburse An Employee For The Employee’s Use Of A Personal Cell Phone For Work Related … No Exceptions: Employers Must Always Reasonably Reimburse Employees’ On-the-Job Use of Personal Cell Phones (California) Section 2802 of the California Labor Code requires employers to reimburse their employees for any “necessary expenditures or losses” that they incur as a direct result of doing their job. The court of appeal explained that if an employee is required to make work-related calls on a personal cell phone, then he or she is incurring an expense for purposes of Labor Code Section 2802. reimbursement for easily overlooked expenses, including cell phone expenses, home office expenses, car allowances, and mileage reimbursements that are lower than the IRS rate. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require employers to reimburse employees for cell phone use, but California law does require cell phone reimbursement per the California Labor Code Section 2802. Thus, to be in compliance with section 2802, the employer must pay some reasonable percentage of the employee’s cell phone bill. It does not matter whether the bill is paid for by the employee, a third person, or at all. Whether the employees have cell phone plans with unlimited minutes or limited minutes, the reimbursement owed is a reasonable percentage of their cell phone bills.” CA Labor Code § 2802 (2017) (a) An employer shall indemnify his or her employee 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 … We hold that when employees must use their personal cell phones for work-related calls, Labor Code section 2802 1 requires the employer to reimburse them. 4th 937, 951 (2008). For more detailed codes research information, including annotations and citations, please visit Westlaw . Read this complete California Code, Labor Code - LAB § 2802 on Westlaw FindLaw Codes are provided courtesy of Thomson Reuters Westlaw, the industry-leading online legal research system . The leading case on cell phone expense reimbursement in California is Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service (2014) 228 Cal.App.4th 1137. The court held that Labor Code Section 2802 requires an employer to reimburse an employee who uses his or her personal cell phone for work-related calls. Nor is it relevant whether the employee needed to change their phone plan to account for the increase in work-related usage. In simple English, Section 2803 mandates that employers reimburse their employees for costs they incur in the performance of their jobs or because of the employer’s instructions. In addition, we provide special support for non-profit, educational, and government users. While the law is unclear and risk remains, it may be acceptable to reimburse home-bound employees only for a reasonable percentage of their home internet expenses, not the entire bill. There the court answered the question “Does an employer always have to reimburse an employee for the reasonable expense of the mandatory use of a personal cell phone?” with a resounding YES: “The answer is that reimbursement is always required.”. The Orange County based Law Offices of Corbett H. Williams is an elite law firm that represents employees in discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, wage & hour and other employment matters. However, there is a stipulation with the FLSA which says an employee’s earnings can’t be below … If the employer does not require the use of cell phones and provides alternatives, then the employee’s use of her cell phone is likely unnecessary—and not reimbursable—under Section 2802. Other common employee expenses include vehicle mileage expense and travel expenses. It stated: The threshold question in this case is this: Does an employer always have to reimburse an employee for the reasonable expense of the mandatory use of a personal cell phone, or is the reimbursement obligation limited to the situation in which the employee incurred an extra expense that he or she would not have otherwise incurred absent the job? One way to avoid the Labor Code section 2802 quandary is to issue company cell phones to employees, while at the same time prohibiting the use of personal phones. Most probably don’t realize that when they do, part of their cell phone costs may become reimbursable—even if they have plans with unlimited minutes. There are a number of laws and regulations that require employers to reimburse expenses that employee incur or to pay for employees use of their own property. He also has substantial experience representing business clients in consumer class action, trade secret, real estate, intellectual property and contract matters and has obtained multiple published opinions by the California Court District of Appeal and the Ninth Circuit. 4th 1137 (2014), employee Colin Cochran filed a putative class action lawsuit on behalf of customer service managers who were not reimbursed for expenses relating to the work-related use of their personal cell phones. Unpaid Employment Expenses Likely Have Up To a Four Year Statute of Limitations, but Penalties May be Forfeited After One … . She not only represents her clients with a strength of conviction, but she also is very empathetic to her clients’ feelings. Labor Code Sections 1197.1 and 2802 have such mandates. You Are Entitled to Reimbursement, 2020 CA Employment Law Legislative Update, Article: Same Ocean, Different Boats: The Pandemic’s Disproportionate Impact on Certain Workers, Employment Law’s Protections, and Its Limitations, California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Bill Becomes Law (AB-1867), Ramit Mizrahi Speaking about New Employment Legislation at CLA Annual Meeting (9/25/20), California Legislature Passes Historic Bill Expanding Family and Medical Leave Rights, Ramit Mizrahi Receives 2021 Recognition by Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers, 201 S Lake Ave, Ste 305, Pasadena, California 91101. Under Section 2802, you are not only entitled to reimbursement of all “necessary” expenses you have incurred in performing your job, you are also entitled to recover the fees an attorney may charge to recover those expenses from your employer in a lawsuit. Contact us today at 949-679-9909 or use the contact form at the bottom of this page, and we will respond promptly. Code § 2802(a). “We hold that when employees must use their personal cell phones for work-related calls, Labor Code section 2802 requires the employer to reimburse them. Strict time limits may apply to your claim, so you shouldn’t wait. Cal. The State of California has led the way in defining what employers are required to do when asking officers to bring their personal phones to work. The penalties over the period of non-payment, plus the attorney’s fees can be substantially greater than the expenses. Ramit is a passionate and compassionate advocate. For example, employers requiring … In law school, attorneys-to-be are ... customer service managers who were not reimbursed for expenses pertaining to the work-related use of their personal cell phones. B While some organizations supply a company phone, others opt to pay a mobile device stipend or reimburse some portion of an employee's personal phone bill under a "Bring Your Own Device" plan (BYOD). California law requires your employer to reimburse you for all “necessary” expenses you incur because of your job. The reimbursement owed is a reasonable percentage of the phone bill. Under Cochran, an employer cannot defend a 2802 action related to use of a cell phone on the basis that the employee would have bought a cell phone even if she was not required to use it for work. Employees must have cell phones with data plans, home internet access and a laptop or similar device in order to meet these demands. ABM Industries, a janitorial service provider, recently agreed to a $5.4 million dollar proposed settlement in Marley Castro, et al. Instead the employer mus… She is very knowledgeable in the area of employment law. One of the most common job-related costs employees have is the cost of a personal cellular telephone or “smart phone.” Unfortunately, employers often require their employees to have a smart phone so that managers can communicate with employees and even track their whereabouts, but do not reimburse employees for the costs of purchasing monthly voice and data service. California Labor Code Section 2802 states that employers must “indemnify” an employee 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.” An employer who fails to reimburse an employee for work expenses can be sued in court for reimbursement and may be required to pay the employee’s attorneys’ fees. You are also entitled to reimbursement of cell phone expenses if your employer requires you to use a particular “app” or function on the phone. The new Illinois law mirrors key language in California Labor Code Section 2802, California's expense reimbursement law. It does not matter whether the bill is paid for by the employee, a third person, or at all. The court held that the details about each employee’s cell phone plan do not … The California Labor Code – and, consequently, … California’s Labor Code Section 2802(a) states that: An employer shall indemnify his or her employee 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. § 2802 (a) ... We will always provide free access to the current law. Thus, the only issue is whether the employee was required to use their personal cell phone for work, and whether he or she was reimbursed. Training and Licensure Expenses; Expenses incurred in connection with training or licenses that are required by law may be … California law protects employees who use their own money or equipment at work. (a) An employer shall indemnify his or her employee 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 … Otherwise, the employer would receive a windfall because it would be passing its operating expenses onto the employee. The Court of Appeal determined that the class should have been certified. Labor Code Section 2802 requires an employer to “indemnify his or her employee for all necessary expenditures or losses Using Your Cell Phone for Work Calls? Legislature’S intent is that employees should not bear losses or expenses incurred in Service... 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