• Jun 20, 2024
  • Wage & Hour

Employee Cell Phone Rights

Employee Cell Phone Rights

In California, employees have specific rights regarding the reimbursement for work-related use of their personal cell phone. According to California Labor Code Section 2802, employers should reimburse employees for any necessary expenses or losses incurred as a direct consequence of their job duties. This includes the use of personal cell phones for work purposes for calls and text messages.

Here are the key points about cell phone reimbursement for employees in California:

  1. Mandatory Reimbursement for Personal Phones: Employers are required to reimburse employees for a reasonable percentage of their cell phone bills if they use their personal cell phones for work-related tasks, regardless of the employee’s cell phone plan or whether additional charges are incurred​​.
  2. Reasonable Expectation and Percentage for Company Business: The reimbursement should reflect the portion of the cell phone usage that is work-related. While there is no approximate or standard method to determine what a reasonable percentage is, it usually must be reasonable and justifiable based on the employee’s use for business purposes​ on such devices.
  3. Reimbursement Methods: Employers can either reimburse the actual expenses incurred as shown on the employee’s cell phone bill, or provide a flat monthly stipend. If a flat amount is provided, such a policy must be sufficient to cover the employee use. Employees should have the option to request a higher reimbursement if the standard stipend does not cover their actual business use​​.
  4. No Waiver of Rights: Employees typically cannot waive their rights to reimbursement for using their cell phones for work purposes. If there is an agreement or contract that tries to get an employee to waive their phone use reimbursement, it may be considered void under California workplace law​.
  5. Employer Policies: Employers should have clear policies in place outlining the process for requesting and calculating cell phone reimbursements. This can help prevent disputes and ensures compliance with the law​.

If an employer fails to provide proper reimbursement, they could face legal consequences, including wage and hour lawsuits or potential class action claims from employees. Employees who believe their rights are being violated should reach out to Lawyers for Justice, PC for a free consultation so they can get the compensation they deserve.

Can I Refuse To Use My Personal Phone For Work? – FAQ

can i refuse to use my personal phone for work? If using the phone is not a condition of your employment, you may be able to refuse it. However, California law requires that employees be reimbursed by their employers, for the work related use of personal cell phones.

do i have to use my personal phone for work? If an employee uses their device for work because their employee does not provide company cell phones, the employee must be reimbursed for a portion of its use for work purposes.

are employers required to reimburse employees for cell phone use? Yes. While personal phone calls may not be reimbursed, usage of the phone for work purposes should be reimbursed.

what is a reasonable cell phone reimbursement? It depends on the company. Though if you do not feel like the reimbursement is high enough, you could bring to you employer your working hours or business hours you are using the phone and ask for an increase.


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