CHA News Article

California Law Requires Employers to Reimburse Employees for Using Personal Cell Phones

Recently, the California Court of Appeal, Second District concluded in Cochran v. Schwan Home Service, Inc. that when employees must use their personal cell phones for work-related calls, California Labor Code section 2802 requires they be reimbursed by their employer. In concluding that the reimbursement owed is a reasonable percentage of their cell phone bills, the court noted that it was irrelevant whether the employees have cell phone plans with unlimited minutes or limited minutes, or whether the employee or some other person actually paid the cell phone bill. Because this case did not involve a situation where employees were offered an employer device but chose to use their personal cell phone, it is unclear whether reimbursement is due in that circumstance.

Employers are more frequently evaluating whether to adopt a policy whereby employees are expected to use their own electronic devices. This case should be considered when evaluating the costs and options.