What to do If Your Employer Fails to Reimburse You?

Should You Contact an Attorney?

Many people feel a strong loyalty to the company they work for and, consequently, strive to go above and beyond to fulfill their job duties. In some situations, this may mean paying for job-related expenses out of pocket with the expectation that your employer will reimburse you. When your employer fails to do so or outright refuses, it can be stressful and upsetting.

In California, it is against the labor code not to reimburse employees for expenses needed to perform their job duties. Despite this, it is not uncommon for employees to be denied the proper compensation and reimbursement for incurred work-related expenses. If this is something that has happened to you, you may have grounds to seek compensation by filing an employment law claim.

Keep reading to learn more about California’s reimbursement laws and how to determine if you have grounds for an employment law case.

California Labor Code

According to California Labor Code § 2802, “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.” Additionally, employers are also required to reimburse employees for expenditures and/or losses incurred because of the employee’s “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.”

Furthermore, under this statute, if the court or the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement issues an award to an employee in a reimbursement case, that award will include interest at the same rate as interest when applied in a civil action. And, interest will begin as of the date the employee initially incurred the expenditure or loss.

If successful in their suit, an employee can recover the following:

  • The original value or cost of the initial expenditure or loss
  • Interest accrued as of the date of the initial expenditure or loss
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Other reasonable costs

Furthermore, in addition to reimbursing the employee, the courts may also see fit to assess a citation against the employer or the person acting on behalf of the employer and who was responsible for violating the employee’s rights to reimbursement.

Do You Have a Case?

Determining whether you have a case against your employer for violating your reimbursement rights can be tricky. With a wide range of work-related expenses, you may need clarification on whether the costs you incurred qualify for reimbursement. This is where an experienced employment law attorney, like ours at Polaris Law Group, can help you.

Expenses that may potentially qualify include the following:

  • Uniforms
  • Required personal safety equipment and gear
  • Tools and other required equipment
  • Cell phone charges
  • Computer and office equipment costs
  • Conference attendance expenses, including travel and housing costs
  • General travel-related expenses
  • Car-related costs, including mileage reimbursement, vehicle maintenance, and repairs

Typically, an expenditure will require reimbursement if it is required because of your job title, job duties, or is essential to the everyday functioning of your position. Every case is unique, and consequently, the context of your situation is incredibly important to determine whether you have grounds to bring a lawsuit.

Why You Should Consult an Attorney

Many employees suffer because their employers refuse to reimburse them for valid, job-related costs. This can cost you thousands of dollars, putting a financial strain on you and your family. However, it can be incredibly intimidating to bring a lawsuit against your employer, especially if your reimbursement requests were met with hostility.

At Polaris Law Group, we have over 25 years of experience handling cases just like these, and we are prepared to use our experience to help employees get the justice they deserve. In addition to handling reimbursement cases, our employment law firm has the skill, capacity, and resources to handle more complicated cases, including those involving employer retaliation and/or discrimination.

Send us a message online to schedule a confidential consultation and discuss your situation with our team.

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