Is Your Company Reimbursing Employees for Use of Their Cell Phones?

Updated September 24, 2018

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

cell phone

New Cell Phone Laws for Employers

As of January 1, 2016, California employers must reimburse employees for use of their personal cell phones for mandatory business purposes, as decided by the California Appellate Court in Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc. The ruling affects millions of employers who must update their company policies in order to stay compliant with the new law.  While this law has been on the books for over two years now, it appears as though many companies have not addressed this law or made it part of their employee reimbursement practices.  Is your company reimbursing its employees for their cell phone call and data usage?  Read below for policy suggestions. Continue reading

Employers May Only Recover Attorney’s Fees and Costs in Certain Actions If They Can Demonstrate that the Plaintiff Brought the Action in Bad Faith (SB 462)

Employers May Only Recover Attorney's Fees and Costs in Certain Actions if They Can Show the Employee Acted in Bad Faith

Employers May Only Recover Attorney’s Fees and Costs in Certain Actions if They Can Show the Employee Acted in Bad Faith

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

After January 1, 2014, employers will only be able to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs if they are the prevailing party in a court action brought by current or former employees for the nonpayment of wages, fringe benefits, or health and welfare or pension fund contributions if  they can demonstrate that the employee brought the action in bad faith.  In order to make this recovery, either party must have requested attorney’s fees and costs at the initiation of the action.

Senate Bill 462, which amends Labor Code § 218.5, does not permit employers to recover attorney’s fees and costs on cases for failure to pay minimum wage or overtime.  In such cases, California Labor Code § 1194(a) provides that in a civil action, an employee, but not the employer, is entitled to recover the unpaid balance of the full amount of the unpaid minimum wage or overtime compensation, including interest thereon, reasonable attorney’s fees, and costs of suit.

Senate Bill 462 was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown on August 26, 2013.  The new provisions of this law will take effect on January 1, 2014. Continue reading