In the face of the swift and dramatic changes to business operations caused by the pandemic, many employers transitioned some or almost all of their employees to working at home literally overnight. Gattuso, at 479. If the employee is free to choose from among different teleconferencing software or applications—there are numerous free software and application programs available—reimbursement would not be necessary. Lawmakers are also planning soon to protect employee job status and health insurance coverage. Employee expenses related to the costs of teleconferencing software and applications may be reimbursable if the employer has instituted specific requirements for teleconferencing. LWDA oversees seven major departments, boards, and panels that serve California … The mission of the California Labor Commissioner's Office is to ensure a just day's pay in every workplace in the State and to promote economic justice through robust enforcement of labor laws. However, if the employee wants to upgrade equipment solely for the sake of convenience (e.g., get a bigger monitor, a wireless mouse, or a newer computer or phone), the employer would not have to reimburse for the upgrades because they are not “necessary” for the employee to perform his or her work. California’s Labor Code Section 2802 normally requires employers to reimburse employees for “reasonable” and “necessary” expenses incurred while performing their job duties. The California WARN Act, by contrast, applies to an employer with 75 employees at any individual facility. Are Employees Entitled to Benefits If Furloughed? Dictionaries tend to define “calamity” in terms of the effects of distress or misery rather than actual events. Many employers are permitting employees to work from home as a preventative measure and to assist with child care as many schools have closed. All employees may apply for unemployment benefits with the Employment Development Department (“EDD”). All Rights Reserved. What about printer ink costs? For example, if a company has 150 employees, a layoff of 50 employees would pass the 50-employee threshold and the 33% threshold. The penalties for failing to properly reimburse employees for their necessary business expenses can be steep, as employees can be awarded reimbursement costs, PAGA penalties, and attorneys’ fees if they are successful. Recent Case Results. California Code, Labor Code - LAB. California Labor Code § 2802 (“Section 2802”) requires employers to reimburse California employees for “ all necessary business expenditures or losses … In this regard, there may be uncertainty about whether employers are required to reimburse employees for expenses incurred to perform remote work. Unscrupulous lawyers are likely trolling the website for potential 60-day violators to sue. However, as the state and local stay-at-home orders have been extended into May, employers may want to review their expense reimbursement policies to ensure that they are not leaving themselves vulnerable to claims and litigation later. Employers are reminded that laid-off employees are entitled to their final paychecks immediately upon separation. Employees who challenge a mileage reimbursement amount set by the employer bear the burden in establishing their actual costs California Labor Code § 2802. However, printer ink and printer paper costs may be reimbursable when paperless work is not possible. Under California Labor Code Section 2802 and court decisions in Gattuso v. Harte-Hanks Shoppers, Inc., 42 Cal.4th 554 (2007) and Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc., 228 Cal.App.4th 1137 (2014), employers are required to reimburse employees for all “necessary” and “reasonable” expenses. Because there is presently no clear authority on whether the COVID-19 crisis qualifies as a “physical calamity” within the meaning of the Labor Code, employers run a risk that a judge presiding over a WARN Act class action case disagrees and finds no “calamity.”  Conceivably, a judge could rule that layoffs were a mere option to stem business losses caused by lessened customer demand and not because of the actual contracting of a contagious virus, the number of victims which thus far total less than one-percent of the population. Finally, the costs of postage, mail delivery, and messengers are not reimbursable except when required if a reasonable alternative (such as scanning, faxing, and email) does not exist. Search by Keyword or Citation; Search by Keyword or Citation. To limit the effects of paying workers who have little work to perform, some employers are taking salaried employees “exempt” from the Labor Code’s rest break and overtime requirements and converting them to hourly employees to limit the amount of hours worked. Where the employer does not provide adequate equipment but expects the employee to work from home, the employer may be obligated to provide equipment (e.g., computer hardware and peripherals) or provide reimbursement for the equipment. Employers may demand proof of incurred expenses. In addition to the threshold 50-employee requirement, the federal WARN Act applies only if the number of displaced employees exceeds 33% of the full time workforce. Employers must reimburse the employee within a time period “reasonable” under the circumstances. Employers in the hospitality industry are bracing to engage in mass layoffs in light of the dramatic drop in foot traffic and laws that temporarily prohibit dining in restaurants. 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