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Reimbursement required in California

On August 12, 2014, a California Court of Appeals issued a ruling that will affect employers that have instituted or are planning to institute bring your own device (BYOD) policies. In Cochran v. Schwan's Home Service, Inc.[1], the appellate panel found that, under California Labor Code section 2802, a business must reimburse its employees for a "reasonable percentage of their cell phone bills" when the employee must use their personal cell phones for "work-related calls". The Court stated that the purpose of this law was to "to prevent employers from passing operating costs on to their employees." Although this ruling was directed to an employee using a personal cell phone for calls, this reasoning should apply to an employee using their personal cell phone's data plan to check work e-mail or other data related activity. Thus, employers who encourage their employees to use their own devices for work related activities and do not provide their employees with an alternative method to complete the work related activities will have to reimburse a portion of their employee device costs.

[1] http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B247160.PDF


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