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Calif. Court Rules Businesses Must Reimburse Cell Phone Bills 161

New submitter dszd0g writes The Court of Appeal of the State of California has ruled in Cochran v. Schwan's Home Service that California businesses must reimburse employees who BYOD for work. "We hold that when employees must use their personal cell phones for work-related calls, Labor Code section 2802 requires the employer to reimburse them. Whether the employees have cell phone plans with unlimited minutes or limited minutes, the reimbursement owed is a reasonable percentage of their cell phone bills." Forbes recommends businesses that require cell phone use for employees either provide cell phones to employees or establish forms for reimbursement, and that businesses that do not require cell phones establish a formal policy.
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Calif. Court Rules Businesses Must Reimburse Cell Phone Bills

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  • It depends (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @09:19AM (#47719655) Homepage Journal

    To me it all centers around: Was BYOD optional?

    If they offered a company device and you refused, then i say you are on your own.

    If they didnt offer one but you NEED it to do your job, then i say they are on the hook, as well as tax credit ramifications.

    If they dont offer and you only use it as its a convenience to make your life easier, then again, you are on your own.

    Furthermore, if you are optionally using your device for office work, they get to mandate policy on its use, up to and including MDM type control.

    BYOD is just a bad idea. Companies should give employees the tools they need for their job, and forbid personal devices.

  • by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @09:21AM (#47719679)

    I've seen this before at a company in California. My company would only reimburse for work related calls.
    You couldn't just submit the entire bill for reimbursement, as if you called your wife and kids 50% of the time you couldn't get reimbursed for that.

    We were required to take the physical bill and cross out those calls which were personal so you could demonstrate what % of the bill was work related vs. personal. Doing this for what could be hundreds of calls per month caused people to just not reimburse their usage as it was too much of a pain to do.

  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @11:48AM (#47721085) Homepage Journal
    I am not aware of any construction company that requires you to have your own hammer and nails.
    I am aware of some contractors that expect the customer to provide them with tools and consumables. This is baffling to me.
    Oddly enough, I am also aware of some companies that require employees to bring their own keyboard and mouse. The keying facility in Mexico that we used to work with required their people to bring heir own because when they used company equipment, the equipment got broken very frequently. Apparently, the employees take better care of their own equipment. I'm not sure if Mexican law requires for them to be reimbursed. I would guess probably not.
  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @11:55AM (#47721139) Homepage Journal
    This is what I don't understand about companies. They are too cheap to just reimburse you at a flat $50 rate for your cell phone, and so they will require you, an employee that costs them probably $100-$200 an hour, to go through and cross out the non-work related calls, then they will require someone else in HR who costs about the same to crosscheck what you did to make sure you are not lying, then they will reimburse you $45 because the phone bill was $90 and half the calls were company related. Total dollars recovered? $5. Dollars spent saving that money? $50-$100.
    It is the same way with travel. Rather than give you a per diem of $100, they want itemized receipts, which you have to collect, enter into the system, submit, your manager has to review and approve, and then Travel has to audit and approve. All because they don't want you to go eat Ramen and pocket the other $97. They spend thousands of dollars of company time to save a few hundred dollars on travel expenses.
  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @12:59PM (#47721729)

    In fact, they probably are quietly applauding the court's decision. Because the IRS.

    The Internal Revenue Service frequently nit-picks employee reimbursement and compensation decisions to death. Pay some key personnel for expenses incurred and some auditor will nit-pick the decision to death. Taxable, not taxable. Reasonable business expense vs discretionary employee benefit. Screw it. The courts has ruled. We have to pay our employees. So you lousy auditors can crawl back into your rat-holes and stay out of private business decisions.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva