The California Court of Appeal, 2nd District, issued a decision that has broad implications for businesses with California-based employees.

Executive Summary

If an employee has unlimited minutes through his or her personal cellphone plan, an employer still has to reimburse the employee for work-related calls, according to a recent California ruling. Nelson Brown's Marc Voses explains other facets of the court ruling and what it might mean for employers that allow employees to use their own mobile devices for work activities.

In Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service Inc. (Cal. App. 2 Dist. 2014), the court found that employers must reimburse state-based employees for work-related calls made using a personal cellphone. While the decision focuses on personal cellphones, it could have far-reaching consequences with respect to bring your own device (BYOD).

Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service Inc.

The plaintiff in this putative class action lawsuit filed suit on behalf of customer-service managers who were not reimbursed for work-related calls made on their personal cellphones. Among other claims, the lawsuit alleges violations of California Labor Law section 2802(a), which provides, in part, the following: “An employer shall indemnify his or her employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in the direct consequences of the discharge of his or her duties, or of his or her obedience to the directions of the employer.”

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