Can I ask my employer to reimburse me for utilities?

We live in perilous and unprecedented times. These times have seen many of our jobs eliminated, while others have transitioned to remote work. And, for those lucky enough to have the ability to work from home, there may be questions on what employers are supposed to provide and what qualifies for reimbursements. And, for those in California, that question is not always straight forward because it all depends on the type of employer, employment and even, industry. One such question that is frequently being asked though, is does an employer have to pay for teleworker utilities?

Does an employer have to pay for teleworker utilities?

In a word, generally, yes. For most California employers that have transitioned their employees to telework, they must reimburse those necessary expenses incurred as a result of this transition and ongoing work situation. In other words, this includes any expenses necessary to fulfill their new telework job duties, like electricity.

These necessary expenses include the costs associated with landlines, cell phones and internet, if, of course, these items are necessary to do the job. This is mandated by California Labor Code Section 2802, which mandates that employers cannot pass on these types of cost (i.e., the costs of operating a business) onto their employees.

What are the consequences?

If an employer does not reimburse their employees for these mandatory expenditures, employers may face civil penalties by the California Labor Commissioner. This is in addition to any civil liabilities that flow from the employee directly.

What does this all mean?

Well, it means we live in unprecedented times, and we are all learning on the job. But, for those San Diego, California, employees that have not received any reimbursement since the transition to full-time telework, contact an experienced labor and employment law attorney. These attorneys can help those with unreimbursed work expenses recover those expenses, which employers may not even know that they owe.