Recently a class action by Starbucks’ employees gives a wake-up call to all employers. Employers have to pay attention to the topic of travel expenses.
This class action occurs as Starbucks fail to reimburse employees for their travel expenses.
Jonelle Lewis, the lead plaintiff, worked in a retail management position at a Starbucks in California Amador County community of Martell. She had worked in the company one and half years. During her employment, she regularly used her personal vehicle to do job-related work. She had asked the company several times for mileage expenses, but was denied by the excuse that the company had no such policy.
The class action included more or less 6000 Starbucks’ retail managers who had the same experience as Jonelle Lewis. At last, Starbucks paid more than three million dollars to settle the class action.
According to California Labor Code section 2802, it is imperative for employers to indemnify its employees for expenses they had spent for the work. Of course, travel expenses are included.
It is important to know that employees have the right to get incurred expenses if he uses his own vehicle for business purposes, including running an errand for business reasons.
The outcome of the Starbucks case should encourage employers to review their travel expense policies.
Hence the following important tips for employers: Review the company handbook; ensure that it provides that all workers are reimbursed for travel expenses; implement procedures for employees to claim and receive reimbursement for travel and other expenses.