Are employers required to reimburse employees for work expenses?

Yes, California law requires employers to reimburse employees for certain work expenses incurred while doing their job. Many employers have policies that specify which costs qualify for reimbursements, depending on an employee’s job details. Here are some common types of reimbursements:

• Mileage and toll expenses
• Travel costs such as airfare and hotel accommodations
• Conference attendance fees
• Business use of a personal cellphone
• Uniform costs
• Training
• Postage
• Internet charges

Not all expenses qualify for reimbursement under state labor laws. For example, a company is not obligated to compensate employees for meals during a work trip or traffic fines.

To be reimbursed, an employee’s expenses must be both necessary and reasonable, as well as incurred as a direct result of performing work-related tasks. The employer should also know the costs are being incurred.

Employers cannot force employees to waive their right to qualifying reimbursements. They are also not allowed to fire or otherwise retaliate against workers who ask to be reimbursed.

If your employer has failed to reimburse you for qualifying expenses, contact the experienced Oakland employment lawyers at Erlich Law Firm. We can answer all your questions about reimbursements and your rights as an employee.

Other Unpaid Wage & Overtime FAQs:


My parents were heavily involved in community organizing. Seeing neighbors and friends’ parents struggle in the workplace gave me a sense of purpose that I wanted to help others. Many employees feel helpless and powerless in the workplace, and helping them vindicate their rights is the right thing to do.

- Jason Erlich

Client testimonials
Jason took the time to explain and guide me through the challenging process, and went the extra steps in consistently providing guidance and putting my concerns and questions high on their list.

Jeff V., Oakland

Jason Erlich made me feel like I was in the right place right away.I had some serious problems with a previous employer and he took care of everything. From the start he helped with my concerns and fears going up against a big corporation.

Susan W., Pacifica

With Jason’s expertise, commitment and aggressiveness, the case is now over and it’s only been 6 months!! I would HIGHLY recommend Jason Erlich to anyone that needs an employment lawyer.

Carla, Petaluma

I can highly recommend Jason Erlich Esq. for any employment law matter. He is an outstanding lawyer, embodies a mix of honesty, knowledge, client care and tough mindset.

Roger J., Oakland

When employees' legal rights are violated, we take time to explain their legal options, listen to their goals, and aggressively argue their case until we achieve the resolution they deserve.