Can my employer require me to use my personal vehicle during work hours when my job description has changed?

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Can my employer require me to use my personal vehicle during work hours when my job description has changed?

I was hired to be a relief manager. My duties include, answering phones and running the office for the regular managers on their days off. I recently went on vacation. When I got back I was told my job would now include marketing for 2-4 hours a week which will require the use of my personal vehicle. I don’t mind the extra hours, but I don’t make much money and cannot afford to be driving my car around without some sort of reimbursement, especially since gas costs so much. Can I refuse the extra responsibilities if they refuse to pay (at least without the risk of losing my job)?

Asked on July 20, 2011 Arizona

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, employers are not required to reimburse employees for expenses incurred in connection with their work, including travel expenses. There are exceptions; there can be no: discrimination involved in an employer's decision not to reimburse an employee; union/employment contract which provides for such reimbursement; company policy which mandates reimbursement (or specific employer representation, promise, etc. as to repayment of such expenses). Other than these exceptions, reimbursement is at an employer’s discretion.

Note:  If you are not reimbursed, then your 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. 

As for losing your job if you refuse, as an "at will" employee you can choose to work for an employer or not. And your employer can fire you, with/without notice, for this reason or any reason at all (subject to the 3 exceptions noted above).

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.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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