Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am very sorry to hear about your trouble obtaiing reimbursement.
Fortunately, the law in this circumstance is highly favorable to employees. Specifically, Labor Code section 2802 requires an employer to "indemnify his or her employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties . . . ."
The remains true regardless of whether the employee had an approved "expense account" and regardless of whether the employee had approval to make a particular purchase. The Legislature's intent is that employees should not bear losses or expenses incurred in the service of their employers, period.
Ordinarily, the best course of action under the circumstances would be to file a claim with the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement. The DLSE is an administrative agency that regulates the payment of wages and expense reimbursements. They will investigate your claim, and assuming they find the expenses were necessarily incurred in the course of your employment and that the expenses were submitted in accordance with reasonable employer policies (which absolutely appears to be the case), they will issue a judgment requiring your employer to pay you back.
While claimants alleging the untimely payment of an employee's final wages can obtain "waiting time" penalties pursuant to Labor Code 203, there is no corrolary provision for untimely reimbursement of job expenses, so regretfully no penalty will attach to the award. The DLSE may, however, award interest.
To file a wage claim with the DLSE, visit this link: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/howtofilewageclaim.htm
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