Employees must be reimbursed for cell phone use

The California Court of Appeals ruled that an employee who is required to use a personal cell phone for work-related calls, must be reimbursed by their employer. This applies even when an employee has a cell phone plan with unlimited minutes. The reimbursement amount owed by the employer is a reasonable percentage of the employee’s cell phone bill.

The Court’s ruling is based on Section 2802(a) of the California Labor Code, which provides that “An employer shall indemnify his or her employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties, or of his or her obedience to the directions of the employer, even though unlawful, unless the employee, at the time of obeying the directions, believed them to be unlawful.”

This decisions confirms that employees must be reimbursed for cell phone use when required to use a personal cell phone for work-related calls, even if the employee has an unlimited cell phone plan. Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc.