Is Your Company Reimbursing You for Work-From-Home Expenses?

Working from home? Many California employers transitioned to a remote workforce after the pandemic began. Some say that they intend to maintain this practice moving forward, citing benefits like happier employees and decreased operating expenses.

If you’re an employee, the second benefit may worry you. Does your company reimburse you for the expenses you incur while working from home? Or is it profiting at your expense?

California Labor Code Section 2802 explained

California Labor Code Section 2802 states that employers must reimburse their workers for necessary expenses incurred on the job. This means that if you use your home Internet or personal cell phone to work remotely, your employer must compensate you for whatever percentage of your Internet or phone bill was work-related. 

Other reimbursable expenses under California law include:

  • Certain equipment needed for work, such as a laptop, tablet, or printer. If your employer doesn’t provide them, they must reimburse you for the purchase cost.
  • Paid applications and software that the company requires you to use.
  • Office supplies such as paper, pens, and printer ink.
  • Postage and courier costs.
  • Mileage reimbursement if your employer requires you to drive your personal vehicle for work. 

Labor Code Section 2802 has a dual purpose:

  • Ensuring that you receive compensation for expenses you necessarily incur to carry out your work responsibilities.
  • Preventing employers from passing their operating expenses on to their workforces.

What if your employer refuses to reimburse you?

Unfortunately, many employers try to protect their bottom line by refusing to reimburse legitimate expenses incurred outside the office. Don’t be afraid to pursue your rights, as it’s unlawful for the company to retaliate against you for insisting on expense reimbursement. If they demote you or terminate your employment, you can take legal action against them.

Any California employer who fails or refuses to compensate its workers for necessary expenses incurred while working remotely risks:

  • Liability for these expenses, plus interest and attorney’s fees
  • Civil penalties for violating Labor Code Section 2802

If a company’s actions affect enough remote employees, it could even face a class action or a Private Attorney General Act lawsuit.

Remember: even if you work under your own roof instead of the company’s, the law entitles you to reimbursement for reasonable job-related expenses. If your employer disagrees or violates your rights in other ways, let your next call be to a California employment law attorney. 

Are you a California remote worker with questions for an employment attorney?

At SW Employment Law, employment law is what we do — it’s what we’re passionate about, and it’s the sole focus of our law practice. 

We’re committed to effectively representing the rights of employees across the state of California — because we believe that everyone has the right to earn a living and provide for their family, free of unlawful discrimination and harassment. 

Our firm has won millions of dollars for employees all over California and we only take cases on contingency, which means we don’t get paid unless we win your case. Our fees come out of the court verdict or settlement with the company, so you don’t pay anything out of pocket.


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