California Court Rules that Employers May Be On The Hook For Unreimbursed Remote Work Expenses
Last week, in a decision of interest to California employers, a California judge denied Amazon’s request to dismiss a lawsuit that claims the company had no policy in place to reimburse employees for expenses incurred while working from home, in violation of state law.
A senior software development engineer sued Amazon for reimbursement of expenses he alleged he incurred while he was instructed to work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic— including for internet and electricity. He filed the suit on behalf of himself and 4,000 other similarly situated California-based Amazon employees. According to the complaint, the expenses necessary for the plaintiff and class members to perform their jobs at home amounted to about $50 to $100 per month per employee. In Amazon’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, the company argued that it was not liable because it was the government—and not the company—who ordered employees to work from home, and also the plaintiff didn’t submit reimbursement requests.