On July 11, 2023, the California Court of Appeal in Thai v. IBM held that whether an employer is obligated to reimburse expenses incurred by an employee working from home turns on whether the expenses were a direct consequence of the discharge of the employee’s job duties, not on whether the expenses were directly caused by the employer. This case is important for all employers whose workforce suddenly began working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and employers who continue to permit employees to work from home today.Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Clarifies Employer’s Obligation to Reimburse Expenses Depends on Whether They Were a Direct Consequence of Job Duties, Not Proximately Caused by Employer

On June 13, 2022, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in Johnson v. WinCo Foods Holdings, Inc, et al. that class members who were not yet employed by WinCo were not entitled to compensation for the time required to take a pre-employment drug test, nor was WinCo required to cover the travel expenses associated with undergoing the test.Continue Reading Time Is Not Always Money: Ninth Circuit Holds That Pre-Employment Drug Testing Is Not Compensable Under California Law

On Monday, the Ninth Circuit vacated a judgment for Grubhub, Inc. and against a former food delivery driver, Raef Lawson, who claimed that he was misclassified as an independent contractor when he performed food delivery services.  Lawson had asserted claims for minimum wage, overtime, and expense reimbursement.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Reversed Grubhub’s Victory on Independent Contractor Classification in Light of the Retroactive Application of Dynamex

On June 4, 2019, the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District issued an unpublished opinion in Krista Townley v. BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. holding that BJ’s Restaurants was not required to reimburse its employees for the cost of black, slip-resistant, closed-toe shoes that BJ’s required its restaurant employees to wear. Due to the lack of California case law addressing the issue, BJ’s requested the opinion be published in the Official Reports. On July 5, 2019, the Court of Appeal granted BJ’s request and ordered the opinion certified for publication. This is the first published opinion in California to adopt the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement’s (“DLSE”) interpretation of a “uniform” and to hold that an employer is not required to reimburse employees for the cost of “non-uniform” work clothing. Matthew Sonne and Jason Guyser of Sheppard Mullin represented BJ’s Restaurants in this matter.
Continue Reading Employers Can Now Stand Firmly On Not Paying Employees For The Cost Of Slip-Resistant Shoes

On December 31, 2013, in Vasquez v. Franklin Management Real Estate Fund, Inc., the California Court of Appeal held that a maintenance technician, who alleged that he was constructively discharged in violation of public policy when his employer refused to reimburse gas mileage, pleaded facts sufficient to support a cause of action.  Accordingly, the appellate court held that the trial court abused its discretion by sustaining the employer’s demurrer without leave to amend.  While at first glance, employers may shudder at the expansion of constructive discharge claims, the case actually has a narrow, fact-specific holding.
Continue Reading New Decision Examines the Scope of Constructive Discharge

On November 6, 2007, the California Supreme Court decided the case of Gattuso v. Harte-Hanks Shoppers, Inc., unanimously holding that employers may satisfy their business expense reimbursement obligations under the Labor Code by increasing salaries and/or commission rates under certain circumstances.

Continue Reading California Supreme Court Approves Lump Sum Business Expense Reimbursements

In Gattuso v. Harte-Hanks Shoppers, Inc., Case No. B172647 (October 27, 2005), the California Court of Appeal considered Harte-Hanks Shoppers, Inc.’s policy of paying increased base salary and commission rates to cover mileage reimbursement expenses, and found this payment scheme complied with the law. Harte-Hanks, the marketing company that distributes PennySaver, California Shopper, and other similar advertising publications, employs both Inside Sales Representatives (“ISRs”) and Outside Sales Representatives (“OSRs”). Harte-Hanks’ ISRs and OSRs sell the same products. However, ISRs do so by telephone in Harte-Hanks’ office, while OSRs drive their personal automobiles to sell Harte-Hanks’ products. Harte-Hanks’ OSRs are paid a higher base salary and commission rate than its ISRs, in order to compensate the OSRs for automobile expenses.
Continue Reading California Court Of Appeal Upholds Mileage Reimbursement In The Form Of Increased Base Salary And Commissions