A Practical (?) Approach to Reimbursing Employee Business Expenses


Under California Labor Code section 2802, employers are obligated to indemnify employees for all expenses incurred in the course and scope of their employment. This obligation, though simple-sounding enough, has always raised issues concerning how employers might practically implement a reimbursement scheme for ordinary expenses such as personal vehicle use and travel costs. Some guidance was recently provided by two sources, a 2005 California appellate court decision, Gattuso v. Harte-Hanks Shoppers, Inc., 133 Cal. App. 4th 495 (2005), review granted, 2006 Cal. LEXIS 2545 (Cal. Feb. 22, 2006), and the newly proposed regulations from the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. While neither source is currently binding, both offer possible frameworks — albeit imperfect — for approaching business expense reimbursements. In the age of the wage and hour class action, now is probably a good time to review your

current policies.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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