Coyle Browne Law


What if I am Not Reimbursed for my Business Expenses?

As an employee, if you have spent your own money for the good of your company or for work-related tasks but haven’t been reimbursed, this can be a significant concern. Understanding your rights relative to business expense reimbursement is crucial, as this is the only way you’ll be able to get what you’re truly entitled to.

California Law Related to Reimbursement For Business Expenses 

In California, Labor Code Section 2802 mandates reimbursement for employees when they pay for certain expenses out of their own pocket. This covers a wide range of expenses, including mileage you put on your personal vehicle for work-related travels (excluding commuting to and from the workplace), essential office supplies, parking fees, toll charges during business trips, and meals during company travel or meetings

If your work is in California and you are forced to spend your own money on necessary work expenses without any reimbursements from your employer, always remember that this isn’t just frowned upon—it’s illegal according to California state law.

“(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 the directions, believed them to be unlawful.”

What You Can Do If Your Employer Refuses To Reimburse You For Business Expenses

If your employer neglects to repay you for essential work-related expenses, it’s within your right to file a lawsuit in order to recoup those unreimbursed amounts

Not only will this claim seek these business expenditures owed to you, but if you’re successful, the judgment may also cover attorney’s fees along with other costs associated with pursuing the case.

“For purposes of this section, the term “necessary expenditures or losses” shall include all reasonable costs, including, but not limited to, attorney’s fees incurred by the employee enforcing the rights granted by this section.”

An Employee Cannot Waive Reimbursement in California

In California, an employee’s right to expense reimbursement cannot be waived— even if it was written into a contract; an employer cannot circumvent their obligation to reimburse employees for eligible expenses by making them sign contracts that excuse the company from its responsibility.

Steps to Take If Your Employer Refuses to Reimburse You

If your employer refuses to reimburse you for eligible business expenses, follow these steps:

Gather Documentation

You should first accumulate all necessary documents associated with your expenses. These may include receipts and invoices, mileage logs, or any other evidence that substantiates you incurred these costs as a work requirement.

Communicate with Your Employer

Open lines of communication are essential. Get in touch with the appropriate authority within your organization — it can be a supervisor or anyone assigned to handle reimbursement issues—and express concern over unresolved reimbursements.

Follow Company Policies

Ensure the reasons for delay do not revolve around you not following your employer’s required procedure when it comes to reimbursement claims; follow any guidelines your company has in place as discrepancies might cause delays or prevent reimbursement.

Escalate The Issue

If discussions with your immediate supervisor prove to be unsuccessful, consider raising your concern with HR and/or higher management.

Consult Legal Counsel

If your in-house efforts to resolve this issue remain fruitless, at this point you should consider reaching out to an experienced employment lawyer in San Diego. Provide them with all pertinent details and documentation of your situation.

If you need help with a claim, we’re here for you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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