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Labor Code (Section 2802)
Reimbursement Claim, Penalties & Examples

Labor Code § 2802 is a California law that requires employers to reimburse workers for “all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties.” Employers that fail to abide by the law can face legal consequences by the filing of a lawsuit.
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Can a Full-Time Employee Deduct Business Expenses?

Deducting business expenses isn’t just for individuals who are self-employed. Taxpayers classified as employees may also deduct many of their unreimbursed business expenses.

To deduct workplace expenses, your total itemized deductions should be greater than the standard deduction. You must also meet “the 2% floor,” which means the total of the expenses you deduct must be greater than 2% of your adjusted gross income.

Labor Code § 2802 Reimbursement Claim Elements

To prevail on a 2802 reimbursement claim, employees must demonstrate that:

  • They incurred necessary expenditures;
  • While in the performance of their duties;
  • The employer knew or should have known of the expenditures; and,
  • The employer did not exercise due diligence toward reimbursement.

What is Labor Code § 2802 Penalties?

A claim for expenses can be filed with a Labor Commissioner who is authorized to investigate the complaint. Labor Code § 2802 provides for the commissioner to impose civil penalties on the employer for failure to pay. The penalty for the first failure is $100.00. For each subsequent violation, the penalty is $250.00.

Related Article: Is California a Right-to-Work State?

Employee Business Expenses Examples

Common examples of expenses that you might incur as part of your job include:

  • Tools and supplies
  • Business travel
  • Professional organization dues
  • Work clothes and uniforms
  • Educator expenses
  • Armed forces reservists
  • Fee-basis state or local government officials
  • Qualified performing artists

What is the Statute of Limitations on Code 2802?

An employee’s claim under Labor Code Section 2802 for reimbursement of business expenses starts on the date the employee incurs said expense. A 3-year statute of limitations applies to claims for reimbursement of business expenses because it is a liability created by statute.

What Cannot be Claimed as a Business Expense?

Anything to do with personal activities or personal spending is considered to be a non-deductible expense. Political contributions, commuting costs, and any gifts over $25 are also exempt as business expenses. It might seem like certain expenses are business-related, but many times they’re not.

Does the IRS Ask for Proof of Business Expenses?

In most cases, you must provide documentary evidence (i.e. receipts, canceled checks, bills) to support your expenses. Additional evidence is required for travel, entertainment, gifts, and auto expenses.

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