The California Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc. was simple. When employees must use their personal cell phones for work, California law requires employers to reimburse them, regardless of whether the cell phone plans are for limited or unlimited minutes. This decision, however, could have a wide ranging impact on California employment law.
The plaintiff in Cochran sought to bring a class action lawsuit against his employer based on his employer’s alleged failure to reimburse him and similarly situated employees for use of their personal cell phones for work-related calls. The superior court denied plaintiff’s motion for class certification, finding that the claim was not suitable for class treatment because individual issues predominated. Specifically, the superior court reasoned that the defendant employer’s liability to prospective class members depended on individual factual issues such as whether employees paid for the cell phone plan themselves, whether employees purchased different cell phone plans because of their work cell phone usage, or whether employees suffered any “actionable expenditure or loss,” i.e., loss of cell phone minutes.Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Rules Employers Must Reimburse Employees For Work Calls on Personal Cell Phones