What are my rights regarding expense reimbursement after termination?

About 3 months ago, I was driving a company van when some debris in the road caused damage to the underbody. The van was unable to be driven and required a tow. At that time, the tow I was able to obtain was taking cash only and I was forced to pay out of my own pocket for the tow in order to get the vehicle to a mechanic. I paid $154 out of pocket knowing my company had a reimbursement policy in place and after speaking with my operations manager about being able to turn in an expense report for it. I filled out the company mandated expense report following the accident and included proper receipts for the tow. Communication with my supervisors indicated the expense check would be cut and I would receive reimbursement. However, 2 months later, I was terminated from the company. All other wages were paid but the expense reimbursement wasn’t included. I inquired and have text communications with the operations manager stating it would be paid, that the check was cut, and that the check was going to be mailed. However, weeks later the process is still stringing along and I’m now being told it’s questionable if it will be reimbursed. Is there any action worth taking to attempt to resolve this or is it likely best to cut my losses and move on from this?

Asked on September 1, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Legally, if the policy was that work-related expenses were reimbursed and/or that a manager told you that you'd be reimbursed (and both things appear to be true here), they have to pay you. Practically, the only way to get the money if they won't honor their obligations voluntarily would be to sue them, e.g. in small claims court. Assume that will cost you at least one day of work (since court is only M-F)--is the time, effort, and aggravation worth the $154? If so, file the lawsuit vs. the company on a "pro se" (as your own attorney) basis.


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