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Under California Labor Code section 2802, an employer must reimburse its employees for all reasonable and necessary expenses the employees incur during their jobs.

Recently, employers have been trying to shift their cost of doing business to their employees. For example, many employers now require their employees to use their personal cell phones for business reasons, such as communicating with customers or responding to company emails or texts. If the employer fails to reimburse the employees for their cell phone charges, this may be illegal.

Here are some examples of expenses that may be reimbursable under Section 2802:

  • Cell phone charges

  • Home office expenses

  • Automobile expenses and mileage

  • Cost of required uniforms and clothing

  • Education and training expenses

  • Meals and entertainment costs

Employees are allowed to recover up to 4 years of unreimbursed business expenses, plus substantial penalties. Current and former employers may be held liable.

Clapp & Lauinger LLP has assisted thousands of employees with their business expense claims over the last 30 years. If you have a question about business expenses, please contact attorney Marita Lauinger at

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