A California Court of Appeal Issues Expansive Expense Reimbursement Ruling

Update: On November 25, 2014, the California Supreme Court denied a petition for review and denied a request to depublish the appellate court case.

A California Court of Appeal recently issued a decision in Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Services, Inc., B247160 (Aug. 12, 2014) that took an expansive view of an employer’s obligation to reimburse employees’ business expenses.  The trial court determined that no expense was incurred, and no reimbursement owed, unless the employee had to pay something out of pocket, above and beyond the expense to maintain the employee’s cell phone for personal use.  The appellate court disagreed, finding that an employer is obligated to reimburse an expense, even if the employee has incurred no additional cost associated with the business use of the phone.  In light of this decision, employers should conduct a careful and wide-ranging review of their reimbursement policies and take a hard look at what actually happens “in the field.”

For more on this important decision, continue reading Littler's ASAP We Have to Pay for What? A California Court of Appeal Issues Expansive Expense Reimbursement Ruling.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.