A group of Amazon employees has asserted claims against the company in California, arguing it failed to properly reimburse them for expenses they incurred while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Williams v. Amazon.com Services, LLC
, now pending in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Amazon employee David Williams argues the company should reimburse him and other workers for costs of their personal cellular phones, home internet and electricity. Specifically, the employees argue, Amazon “sent home their California-resident office-based employees during the period from March 15, 2020 to the present without reimbursing them for a reasonable portion” of their monthly home expenses. As a result, the employees claim Amazon violated the California Labor Code. Amazon has yet to respond to the Complaint.
This recent case follows several similar class actions in which employees argue their employers failed to reimburse them for home office expenses. In Torres v. Fox Broadcasting Co. LLC
, filed last month, the plaintiffs claimed that while California’s work-from-home order was in place, Fox refused to reimburse employees for expenses incurred at home, ranging from $50 to $100 per month for each individual. The total amount owed to the class, not including attorney fees, is estimated to be near $2.9 million. Similar cases have been filed against Oracle and IBM, both of which have denied wrongdoing.
Although most state pandemic restrictions have been lifted, it appears that remote working arrangements are here to stay. As a result, it is likely that employers will encounter many of the same issues going forward. These class actions should serve as a cautionary tale for employers who may need to reevaluate their expense reimbursement policies for remote workers.