Employee-Expense-Reimbursement-Under-California-Law.jpg (2149×1159)There are so many different policies on the federal and state level regarding Employee Expense reimbursement, some of which appear to conflict. While the California labor law provides guidelines on what is reimbursable, there is also the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations that state what types of business expenses are deductible and are not related to what California employers are required to reimburse. This volume of information can all be very confusing.

Travel Expenses

Depending on the type of business you work for, there is an endless list of work-related expenses that you can incur if you travel for your job that can be categorized as travel expenses as well as other expenses that qualify for reimbursement.

Below is a partial list of the most common reimbursable travel-related expenses:

Other reimbursable expenses can include:

While many employers reimburse expenses, they may also specify limits and restrictions, such as:

California labor laws trump employer policies—employers cannot require an employee to pay out-of-pocket for any costs incurred while performing their jobs. Typically, an employee is expected to submit an expense report itemizing their expenses; this validates the employees’ claims. In return, employers must issue reimbursements promptly- 30 days is a typical wait time.

Working from Home

Employees who work from home offices also incur reimbursable expenses–if the employee is performing work for the company, it is the company’s responsibility to reimburse all such costs.

Working from home may require employees to have a phone line, cell phone, printer, computer, and internet; these expenses should be reimbursed by the employer if used for work purposes only.

Employers Refusing to Issue Reimbursements

Occasionally, employers refuse to reimburse for expenses incurred by an employee while performing their job. You must understand what qualifies as a work expense and what your employer should be reimbursing.

Mileage Reimbursement

Reimbursement for miles driven with your vehicles on company business is a widespread practice. There are no laws mandating employers to offer mileage reimbursement.Many companies do—it is an excellent incentive and helps attract and retain employees.

If your company reimburses mileage at the standard Internal Revenue Service rate, it is not considered income, so it is not subject to tax. Claims must be confirmed by employee records that prove the time, place, and purpose of the travel. Check with your tax accountant for any tax repercussions and the best practice to report your mileage expense. The IRS’s standard rate can be found here.

Like many other aspects of employment, companies can and should establish guidelines on mileage reimbursement requirements and rates. Accurate documentation comes from a process that builds in safeguards, encourages questions, and includes a monitoring system that will uncover abuse. The documentation associated with mileage reimbursement is vital for both you and your employer.

If your claim does not adhere to those guidelines, your reimbursement may be denied.

Just as you are required to adhere to your company’s policies and regulations when submitting a reimbursement claim, your employer is equally responsible for treating you fairly and compensating you promptly for business-related expenses. 

If you are experiencing problems getting your employer to reimburse you for legitimate expenses and you have attempted to resolve them without results, it’s time to contact the skilled attorneys at  Aiman-Smith & Marcy. We specialize in employment law and have successfully litigated hundreds of such cases—our combined experience advising and litigating on behalf of employees on a wide range of complex matters will get you the best outcome.

For a free consultation, call us today and let Aiman-Smith & Marcy help you get what is rightfully yours.

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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