The California Supreme Court recently announced that under section 2802 of the California Labor Code employers must reimburse employees who are required to use personal cell phones for work purposes. Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service (CA Ct App 2014).
“If an employee is required to make work-related calls on a personal cell phone, then he or she is incurring an expense for purposes of section 2802,” the Court wrote, adding that who pays the phone bill or whether or not the phone bill is actually paid is irrelevant. The Court continued, “Thus, to be in compliance with section 2802, the employer must pay some reasonable percentage of the employee’s cell phone bill.”
Section 2802 of the California Labor Code states that “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.” The Court had previously held that this same section required employers to reimburse employees for work-related uses of personal vehicles.
There are several ways California employers can comply with the requirements of Section 2802. For more information on how the Cochran ruling may impact your California workforce, please call any BurnsBarton attorney.