Most of us have to drive to get to work, but some types of employment require driving in order to perform job duties. For instance, sales people sometimes have to travel between stores to make their sales, and caregivers have to chauffeur their charges to appointments. This can become expensive for positions where you drive a lot, so there are rules mandating that employers repay employees what they spend on their cars in order to do their jobs. This is called mileage reimbursement.

What We Mean By Mileage  

Mileage, at first glance, may sound like you are being paid for how far you drive. It’s more than that, though. It covers any expense an employer racks up because they are operating a vehicle for work. Mileage should cover gas, insurance, repairs, and car depreciation, and your employer should be tracking these expenses. The only way out of mileage reimbursement for an employer who wants you to drive on official business is to provide a work vehicle and cover all the expenses of running it. 

IRS Mileage Rates

Mileage is only loosely regulated at the federal level. The Internal Revenue Service has a chart with suggested standard rates based on the type of business you are in, but its purpose is to help a taxpayer, such as a self-employed individual, figure out what to deduct from their taxes as business expenses. They recommend that you deduct $0.58 per mile for businesses, $0.14 for charity work, and $0.20 per mile for medical or moving purposes. 

California’s Rulings

Mileage reimbursement for Californians is set forth in Labor Code Section 2802, which states that an employer has to pay any reasonable expense that an employee has to incur while that person is doing his or her job. The next section of the labor code, 2804, disallows employees waiving their rights to compensation. You can negotiate the original price, and, if you can prove that your employer’s compensation package doesn’t completely cover the necessary expenses of driving for the company, you can challenge the compensation scheme. 

However, the method that a company uses to compensate you for your mileage can vary. According to the 2007 ruling, Gattuso v. Harte-Hanks Shoppers, an employer can simply increase base pay or commission rates, provided there is some way to determine how much of that increase is to reimburse you for business expenses. This is called the ‘lump sum’ method of reimbursement. 

There are two other ways that an employer can compensate you for driving your car for work. They can use the ‘actual reimbursement’ method, where the employee records all their car related expenses, the employer figures out which part of those expenses are work related, and repay the employee that amount.

The slightly less labor-intensive method is the ‘mileage reimbursement’ method. This is where employers provide a monthly reimbursement based on standard rates and how many miles you drove. Employers can take the IRS standards as a reasonable reimbursement schedule, but they are not obliged to stick with that. So long as they fully reimburse you one way or the other, they can set their own rates.

Mileage reimbursement gets complicated, and it is easy for companies to underestimate how much an employee is spending on his or her car in order to work for them. When that happens, you may need to speak to a lawyer. Fortunately, Aiman-Smith and Marcy specialize in employment law, as well as consumer fraud and class action lawsuits. We have years of expertise that we can apply to your situation. If you feel that you have been cheated, contact us.

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Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986