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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I am a salary employee. Is it legal for my employer to require

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I am a salary employee. Is it legal for my employer to require me to drive 5 hours to a meeting, be in a meeting for 5.5 hours and then drive 5 hours back all in one day (they are refusing to pay for a hotel room)? I am wondering if requiring an employee to drive 10 hours in one day is legal.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

Unfortunately, as an exempt employee, your employer can direct you to work any number of hours in a day that it desires, regardless of whether the demand is reasonable (and a 10 hour driving day certainly is not). There are no laws that limit driving time for non-commercial drivers.

Although an employer can force you to drive for so long in a given day, an employee in your circumstance would be entitled to reimbursement for that travel expense.

More specifically, 8 CCR 13704(h) provides as follows:

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.

So to summarize, as an at-will employee, your employer may require you to work any number of hours in a day, regardless of what is fair, reasonable, or even necessarily safe. Although you may be required to drive ten hours in a day, an employee in your circumstance is entitled to reimbursement for travel costs.

I realize that the law is not entirely in your favor here and I am truly sorry to have to deliver bad news. Nonetheless, I trust that you will appreciate an accurate explanation of the law and realize that it would be unprofessional of me and unfair to you to provide you with anything less.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, I would be most grateful if you would remember to provide my service a positive rating, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Very best wishes and happy holidays to you.
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