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Los Angeles Failure To Reimburse Expenses Lawyer

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Sometimes, our work can require us to spend our own money to cover business-related expenses. According to California employment law, when this happens, employees should be able to receive reimbursement for those work-related expenses. It’s important that Los Angeles employees be aware of their reimbursement rights, as it’s not uncommon for disputes regarding the matter to occur. When that happens, it’s important to work with a legal team like Shirazi Law Firm, PC, where we understand the subtle nuances of the law and can help you seek what you’re owed.

Work Expenses

California’s reimbursement requirement comes from Labor Code 2802. The code requires that, for an expense to be required for reimbursement, it must be reasonable and necessary for the employee to perform their job. Employers may provide a list of what expenses can be reimbursed. However, it’s important to recognize that the list may not include everything that should be reimbursed under the law.

The specifics of what can be expensed will depend on what kind of work an employee does, as the expenses must be a direct consequence of the employee performing their duties. Any expenses that are partially involved in work-related activities may be paid out partially at a rate that is commensurate with work-related usage. Some of the more common work expenses include:

  • Travel-related expenses
  • Work-from-home expenses
  • Internet service
  • Cell phone service
  • Uniform Costs
  • Mileage
  • Training
  • Conference and registration fees

Travel Expenses

Travel expenses can be a significant expense for certain job positions that require it. The expenses reimbursed will typically be for transportation to and from the location and, while there, business expenses and reasonable meal expenses. However, if an employee takes some personal excursions while there, or even remains in the location for a few extra days, then the expenses incurred at that time are not required to be reimbursed.

Remote Work

With the rise of remote work in recent years, many are left wondering if and how the reimbursement law applies to working from home and home office situations. Depending on the type of job, a home office can require a fair bit of equipment to be functional for the requirements of the job. However, remote employees are in luck because, as long as the equipment is reasonably necessary for their duties, it can be expensed under Labor Code 2802.

However, once something is reimbursed by the employer, it becomes that company’s property. If the employee leaves the company, whether by their own volition or from the termination of their employment, it’s possible that the company may ask for the property that was expensed to be returned to the company. This creates a dilemma for some work-from-home employees who may want to pay the up-front expense themselves and be able to keep the property in the long run.

Expense Reimbursement FAQs

Q: Can an Employer Refuse to Reimburse Expenses in California?

A: An employer in California cannot refuse to reimburse expenses. If they do so, they open themselves up to the risk of a claim for those expenses to be recouped, along with interests, attorney fees, and a possible civil penalty. Employer reimbursements for work-related expenses are mandated by California Labor Code Section 2802. These rights are fairly ironclad and can’t be waived by a provision in a contract. Even if you signed a contract with such a provision, it is unenforceable by the court. Additionally, if your employer fails to reimburse expenses, and you bring a claim against them, they are prohibited from retaliating against you.

Q: What Can I Do If My Employer Doesn’t Reimburse My Expenses?

A: If your employer fails to reimburse you, then you may want to first speak with them. It’s possible that it was just a misunderstanding. However, if they are refusing to pay for expenses that you believe you are rightfully requesting, then you may have to seek restitution a different way.

Contacting an experienced Los Angeles employment lawyer is a solid first step. At Shirazi Law Firm, PC, we handle all kinds of wage and hour claims, and we can help you understand if you have a good case in your situation. If your claim is successful, you may receive damages that cover unpaid expenses, interest, attorney’s fees, and court costs. It’s also possible that your employer may be fined, and the proceeds of that fine will be paid to you.

Q: Will I Be Reimbursed for My Personal Phone If I Use It for Work?

A: If your employer requires you to make work calls from a personal phone, use your data on the phone for work-related issues, or even just have the phone available in case you need to be reached by it during a shift, then you may be entitled to reimbursement for some expenses. However, since it is only a partially work-related expense for the employee, the expense will likely only be partially reimbursed at a percentage that reflects how much the phone is realistically used for work. This is how all partially work-related expenses are generally handled.

Q: What If I Travel for Work and Take Some Personal Time as Well?

A: If you travel for work and also have some personal travel involved as well, then only that which was necessary for work will likely have to be reimbursed. For instance, you travel to a city for work but stay a few days extra on the weekend. While traveling there and back, along with your hotel, meals, and other expenses for the workday, will probably be reimbursed. The extra hotel nights and your expenses for the weekend will not be reimbursed.

Get the Reimbursement You’re Owed

California’s reimbursement law is designed to prevent employers from passing the cost of doing business along to their employees. However, it’s only able to perform that function so long as employees step up and claim their right to reimbursement. Occasionally, employers refuse to reimburse employees, or there is a dispute about what should be reimbursed. If that happens to you, then you need the skill and experience of Shirazi Law Firm, PC, on your side. If you need help with a reimbursement case, contact us today.

Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only get paid after you do. Consultations/communications can be virtual if preferred.

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Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only get paid after you do. Consultations/communications can be virtual if preferred.

“Emanuel Shirazi went above and beyond on my case. My employer treated me so unfairly and I felt like I had no where to turn. I met with Emanuel and he told me: I’ve got your back. This guy is a pit bull who never stops fighting for his clients. So glad he was on my side and not vice versa. Trust me, Emanuel won’t let you down“



Founder Emanuel Shirazi is an employment lawyer in Los Angeles representing employees who have been legally wronged by their employers. In addition to representing employees, Mr. Shirazi used to defend employers while he worked at the largest employment law firms in the country. Thus, Mr. Shirazi knows the tricks of the trade of the other side and will use that to your advantage in your case. Mr. Shirazi’s experience helps him anticipate your employer’s defense and prepare accordingly.