REIMBURSEMENT FOR WORK-RELATED PHONE CALLS ON PERSONAL CELL PHONES

A 3-judge panel of the California Court of Appeals for the Second District held that when employees are required to use their personal cell phones for work-related voice calls, the employer must reimburse the employee for those cell minutes at a reasonable rateCochran v. Schwan’s Home Serv., Inc., (2014) 228 Cal. App. 4th 1137, 1140.

The plaintiffs in Cochran were employed to deliver meals to customers at their homes. The plaintiffs were required to use their personal cell phones to contact customers regarding order and delivery, but the employees were not reimbursed any money for these calls. The 3-judge panel found that reimbursement of a reasonable percentage of the employee’s cell phone bill for work-related calls is required by Labor Code § 2802 (a rule requiring employers to reimburse employees for necessary expenditures of carrying the duties of the job). Employer reimbursement is required whether the employee has limited or unlimited talk minutes on her cell phone plan.