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I am very sorry to hear about your lost baggage. I have had that happen once to me and it was very frustrating.
While there is no law that specifically holds an employer accountable to reimburse for this cost, two laws that are arguably applicable. They are 8 CCR 13704(g)-(h), and they state as follows:(g) Shipping. Every employer shall reimburse each employee for the actual necessarily incurred costs of shipping baggage and sample or display material between regular and temporary work locations to which the employee must travel for business reasons.
(h) Transportation. Every employer shall reimburse each employee for the cost of transportation necessarily incurred in travel by air, train, bus, car or boat between the employee’s home business location and the away from home location where work is performed. Transportation expenses must be paid directly by the employer or reimbursed to the employee between the employee’s origination point and destination where work is to be performed and shall include the costs of travel from and to the employee’s home, place of business or lodging, and the airport.
It would seem that the cost of replacing lost belongings contained within one's luggage would fall within the definition of "actual necessarily incurred costs of shipping baggage," since the cost of replacing those items will be incurred since they were lost during shipment.
Furthermore, the cost of replacement is a cost "necessarily incurred in travel by air," since you would not need to replace these items but for your air travel.
Accordingly, an employee in your circumstance would have at least a tenable argument that your employer should cover the value of your lost bag to the extent that amount is not covered by the airline.
If your employer refuses to make such payment, an individual in your circumstance can make a claim with the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement. To file a wage claim with the DLSE, visit this link: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/howtofilewageclaim.htm
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