Can a company take away your company vehicle so as to cause you unreimbursed business expenses?

I’ve been working for a company and have been provided with a company vehicle for the past 5 years averaging about 30,000 miles a year for business. Recently we have been informed that we will no longer be provided with a vehicle and need to purchase our own. We will be given a monthly stipend to help with expenses but I have done the math and will be losing approximately $10,000/year simply to work and keep my job. This effects employees nationwide and the monthly stipend is not geographically impacted. Is there anything that sounds wrong about this, legally?

Asked on December 13, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, the fact is that employers are not required to reimburse their employees for expenses incurred in connection with their work. This includes travel expenses (gas, maintenance, depreciation, etc) etc.).

There are certain exceptions to this however. No form of actionable discrimination must be involved in an employer's decision not to reimburse an employee. Additionally, a union/employment contract can provide for such reimbursement or a company policy can mandate reimbursement. Other than these exceptions, reimbursement is at an employer’s discretion.

Note:  If you are not reimbursed for amounts over your stipend, then these travel expenses may constitute expenses which you can deduct on your own taxes. You should consult with your tax preparer or accountant about this. Additionally, if you have to travel outside their normal shift and you are a non-exempt employee, you are entitled to overtime for any hours worked over 40. 

Bottom line, either speak to your boss, HR, etc. and explain your side of things or else pay if you want to stay. While unfair it is the law.


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