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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 38878
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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On September 2, 2011 I was let go, at the meeting with HR and

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On September 2, 2011 I was let go, at the meeting with HR and my manager, and another person I advised them I had not been reimbursed yet for CME (Continuing Medical Education) that I had paid for out of my pocket for myself and a coworker, that both of us had been approved for. This amount was not given to me when I collected my final pay check that day. On September 22, 2011 when I picked up my belongings due to being refused to pick them up on the 2nd, I wrote on my belongings papers that I still had not received the CME money. I contacted the manager for a different reason, she emailed me back asking for my phone number that she had questions on the reimbursement money-I informed her she could email me her questions, on about the 25th she emailed me stating "we usually do not pay for food and drinks" and the rental car was way to much. Although she was made aware that we would be renting a car as I had put that down on my paperwork before we were approved. She said nothing about what the Broadmoor Hotel charged for parking everyday, or the gas that I put in the tank or the toll costs, just the rental car and food, and stated she would be sending me a check minus food and the car. I emailed her back stating that as this check was owed to me as of Sept 2nd in full, that I would have no other recourse than to go to California Fare Labor Commissioner. Oct 4th I received a check from the hospital minus $536.61 which I assume since the car for 1 week was $528 that she has had her conferences with whomever and is now continuing to play a game with me, hoping I will give up and except less than what is owed. So what to do now, I will not cash this check as I am aware that then I would be excepting this as full payment, do I send the check back for insufficient funds, to whom, head of HR, person that signed the check? or send it back and contact the Fare Labor Commissioner? Thanks
First, unless the check displays the terms "full satisfaction check," or "full payment check" or similar, or the check is accompanied by a letter stating that the check is tendered in full satisfaction or full payment of a disputed debt, then your cashing the check does not operate as acceptance of the amount as payment in full for your expense reimbursement. Commercial Code 3311; Civil Code 1526.

Next, Labor Code 2802 requires that an employer indemnify its employees for all necessary expenditures incurred in the discharge of the employee's duties. So, if the check is short, then you have a fairly ironclad cause of action against the employer. The fact that the car was too expensive is irrelevant, unless you were expressly instructed not to rent a car for the amount you paid, as long as the vehicle was used within the scope of employment -- meaning that if you were out of town on employer business or required training, and you needed a car to conduct business, then you are entitled to be reimbursed. Conversely, if you were in your own community and you rented a car, just because you didn't want to use your own, then that would be your personal expense.

Re meals and entertainment, the issue is whether or not you were feeding yourself on your personal time, or you were conducting business. The former is not busines related, so your employer could avoid having to pay that bill.

Now, if you have proof that the employer agreed to cover all of your costs, then that would overrule the Labor Code entirely. But, without a written consent or authorization, what I've described above is the default.

As far as complaining to the Labor Commissioner, you can certainly do so, but hearings are running up to a year in arrears. So, if you want your money any time soon, then you'll have to sue in small claims court. See this link.

Hope this helps.

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