Employers must reimburse their employees for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred in the discharge of their duties. Labor Code §2802. Common expenses include travel and automobile expenses, including a reasonable mileage reimbursement, and cell phone expenses if the employer requires the employee to carry a cell phone.
The Internal Revenue Service’s standard mileage reimbursement rate for business travel is 56.5 cents per mile for 2011. Employees working from a home office are entitled to reimbursement of business expenses as well. Labor Code section 2802 has been interpreted to require employers to indemnify an employee for legal costs incurred defending lawsuits arising from conduct within the course and scope of employment. For example, one employer was required to reimburse an employee for legal costs arising from the employee’s successful defense of a sexual harassment lawsuit by a co-worker.